Faithlife Sermons

It is Good to be Sure

Fan or Follower  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  23:16
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Intro

We are continuing in our series fan or follower. This series asks the question, are you a fan of Jesus or a follower of Jesus. Throughout the message series, you will have opportunities to examine your life and evaluate where you stand, and opportunities to move from being a fam to becoming a follower.
As we proceed I want you to know that becoming a follower isn’t some unattainable goal, a super christian if you will. It is attainable, and it is attainable for anyone. No matter what background you are from, or what you have done. You can become a follower at any age. It requires only your absolute total faith in Jesus Christ. That is a desire to turn from following your self and the world, repenting of your sins and following Jesus Christ.
This is not a decision that should be entered into lightly, as sort of Hell insurance, but with full knowledge of who Jesus is, and full awareness that this requires you to be willing to turn your whole life over to him.
You will not be able to achieve perfection, holiness goodness, peace or patience or kindness or joy strictly on your own, in your own strength, you will need to rely on the Holy Spirit to help you. But if you are willing, if you make the effort that you are capable of, God meets you, Through the risen Lord Jesus Christ the Holy Spirit enables you to achieve those things.
As we move through the message, please continually ask yourself are you a fan of Jesus, or have you taken the step to be a follower.
pause
It has been a little over a week since the tornados . Many people lost things that were dear to them. Homes were damaged, businesses destroyed, and people’s livelihoods were lost. Big beautiful trees were lost, the landscape was forever changed, and will be a reminder of the destruction for years to come.
However, in all that, God’s hand was seen as miraculously no one was injured or killed due to the storms themselves. It could have been so much worse.
Whether it is a tornado or some other personal crisis, where we experience great pain and loss, our everyday life is disrupted externally. When something happens to us, many times outside of our control, out here- it could be a tornado, a health crisis, or finances, or someone causing us pain, physically or emotionally, when something happens to us out here, it causes disruption internally.
That internal disruption occurs in two places. It occurs in our minds, and thinking. It cause us to ask questions about God? God where were you? God do you care about us? Does God love me and if so why am I going through this? Theses are serious questions, and we want to know the answers.
And also, this internal disruption-due to the outside circumstances, doesn’t only cause us to look for answers to those questions, in our minds, but they also cause a disruption in our heart. Emotionally we suffer the effects that this corrupted world has brought on us. This can manifest itself inside our hearts as sin.. This external disruption has become internal and manifests as anger, or bitterness, rage, jealousy. It can lead us to seek temporary ways to relieve that disruption or heart pain through alcohol, drugs, or sex.
For people who do not yet know the Lord Jesus as their Lord, or as we are calling them fans of Jesus this can be just the way the world works. For fans of Jesus most of their hope, joy, love peace is found in the things of the world. Like their house, job, family. So when those things are gone, so is the hope joy and peace.
Even for followers this can be tough. It can be tough for followers because all followers were at one time not. Followers used to find their hope joy and peace in the things of the world and even though they have found them in Jesus, that old way of doing things dies hard. The world pulls back at followers and even followers find themselves caught up in the world and in 2 Peter, Peter, a follower of the Lord Jesus writes about that.
But first let us pray before reading God’s word.
Pray
Read Scripture
2 Peter chapter 1 starting at verse 3, it is on page . of the Bible found in the pew.
Today we are going to be looking at the list Peter provides, in verse 5.
2 Peter 1:5–7 NIV
For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love.
I love to read that list, It sounds good, it makes me feel good. Those are things that most people want in life: goodness, knowledge self-control, mutual affection, love.
And this isn’t the only place that we have a list. The apostle Paul also wrote about a list very similar in Galatians chapter 5.
In Galatians 5, Paul provides a good list and a bad list. The apostle Paul talks about two types of people. People who have the bad list in their lives, he calls people in the flesh, and those that have the good list in their lives, he calls those people in the Spirit.
In our terms today the people in the flesh are those that have not yet encountered Jesus Christ, or the fans of Jesus. They know about Jesus, but they do not know Jesus.
The people in the Spirit, are those that have decided to follow Jesus, they are the followers. The reason they are called in the Spirit is because when you become a Christ follower, the Holy Spirit indwells you and you live with the Holy Spirit.Having the Holy Spirit living in your life produces the good list that Paul mentions
So I will turn to Gal 5, this is on page of the pew Bibles and you may want to keep your finger in 2 Peter because we will go back there.
Galatians 5:16–24 NIV
So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
Paul starts out with a bad list for comparison.
Galatians 5:19–21 NIV
The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
Does your life have this list in it? Are these things you find in your life. Now, what fans like to do is to minimize this list in their life. But you don;t have to have al of them. Just some of them, and they don;t have be be huge just a little of them. Fans will make excuses and say I don’t drink that much, I had a good reason for getting angry. It isn’t like you have all of them or to a full extant there are degrees of them. Just as there are degrees of the good list.
Here the apostle Paul calls the good list the fruit of the spirit.
Galatians 5:22–23 NIV
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
When you are a follower of the risen Lord Jesus Christ, you have the Holy Spirit indwelling in your life, and your life begins to be transformed, from the bad list to the good list. However, as we said that old flesh dies hard, and this list is in degrees so there is this deception that occurs in both fans and followers.
What that means is that it is possible that you think you are follower because your life seems pretty good. You maybe don’t engage in the whole list of the flesh, to the full degree, and you see some of the good list in your life, to some degree and things seem pretty good.
You say, I love my kids. My Grandkids bring me joy. I have great self-control. I work really hard at it, my life is pretty good. My fits of anger are not too intense and I only occasionally have drunkeness or sexual immorality. However, you need to know that It is possible for someone to be like that and still be in the flesh. It is possible that life can be pretty good, and you still do not follow Jesus. It is possible that you may just be a fan.
You may not realize it when things are good, but when those things that bring you joy and love start to fall apart you turn to the things of the flesh.Those things that are your source of joy and love will eventually be gone, and you are only left with the flesh.
A follower of Jesus finds the things on the list in Jesus Christ. Children can be a great joy in your life but the difference is that a Christ follower finds their ultimate joy in Jesus Christ. The source of the joy is Jesus. The children and the joy you find in them is a gift from God and you now SEE that your joy in them originates from God the Father through your relationship with Jesus Christ.
Fans and followers alike love each other, but fans tend to love those that easy to love like their spouse. A Christ follower loves with an unconditional unselfish love, regardless of who that person is. Regardless of if that person is worthy or deserving of our love. Followers love like this because Jesus Christ is the source of their love. They see that Jesus Christ first loved us and gave himself up for us, when we were unloving, and unworthy and full of sin.
A Christ follower sees a love so deep that the creator of the universe, would give up His throne in heaven, take on flesh, in order take our sins upon him and suffer the wrath of God so that we could experience that kind of love in your life.
There is a danger for followers though. Followers are still left in the world. The world that is full of corruption and sin. The world that is filled with things of the flesh. The world pulls back at the followers. The followers since they were once in the flesh may begin to lean back toward those things of the flesh and away from the things of the spirit.
As we talked about 2 weeks ago. Todays’ passage is written by Peter the guy that denied the Lord Jesus when things got tough. Peter was a Christ follower, but the pressure of the sin and corruption around Him externally, caused His internal disruption, and He denied the Lord Jesus out of fear and self-seeking.
So Peter offers this remedy. A remedy to be sure that we do not fall, or stumble to far back into the things of the flesh.
2 Peter 1:5 NIV
For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge;
This passage starts with that phrase for this very reason. We looked at those reasons 2 weeks ago. Those were the very great and precious promises, because you have everything you need, because you are participating in the divine nature, and because to some degree you have escaped the corruption of the world. .
Because of those reasons Peter says--- make every effort.
He is not talking to those who are fans, but those that know Jesus and follow Him. Those who find their joy-not in things of the world but in the Lord Jesus instead. Those who love because He first loved us and those have knowledge of the the Lord Jesus Christ.
Make every effort, not because you are somehow earning your way to heave, but because this faith is precious to us, like a jewel. Make every effort not to earn the love of Jesus, we already have that, but because we love the Lord Jesus. Not to earn the prize but because we already have the prize.
Think of it this way. Suppose I could not afford a car yet always dreamed of owning a very nice car. Then someone gives me a very nice car. A car I could afford in a million years. When I receive the car it is going to be precious to me. I am going to keep it in the garage. I am going to polish it. I am going to change the oil, and check the tire pressure. I am going to MAKE EVRY EFFORT to ADD to the gift I was given.
That is what Peter is getting at here. Make every effort to treat that faith as precious to cherish it by adding these things to it.
2 Peter 1:1 NIV
Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ have received a faith as precious as ours:
So to this precious faith add the following things.
2 Peter 1:5–7 NIV
For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love.
It sounds a lot like a progression. It sounds like one thing leads to the next. It has a sort of stair step pattern. Peter is using a literary device to emphasize a point. We are not to think that is is necessarily an ordered chain of events, such as step one goodness, step 2 knowledge step 3, and so forth.
Rather Peter is using this literary device to make the point that we are to be growing, in Christ likeness. In another place the apostle Paul refers to this as going from one degree of glory to the next. Like turning up the dial from 1 to three to six, magnifying all of these things in your life.
2 Corinthians 3:18 ESV
And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.
From one degree of glory to the next the stair step of ever increasing growth in the the Lord Jesus Christ. Reflecting the image of God in our life.
This is what Peter is saying. Since your faith and hope in the Lord Jesus Christ is so precious you are going to want to make every effort to be growing and changing from one degree of glory to the next, ever reflecting more of Jesus Christ in your life.
And Peter goes on.
2 Peter 1:8 NIV
For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
You will not be ineffective and unproductive.
Look at the next verse.
2 Peter 1:9 NIV
But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins.
If you do not make every effort Peter writes, you could end up being inneffectie unproductive and you are nearsighted and blind. Forgetting this wonderful gift you have been given.
Like you have been given that car, but you don;t take care of it. You forget what it was like to be without the car. Having the car is no use if it doesn’t work.
That old flesh dies hard, we forget that we have been cleansed and reborn and we have a new life. We are nearsighted and blind, we do not see the glory of the Lord. We go backwards, and we are producing anything for the Lord.
We are not seeing the hope we have, we are caught in looking nearby at the corrupted world. We lose sight that our hope is the Lord, that our joy is in the salvation of our God, that we have escaped the corruption of the world and it’s evil desires.
From time to time, the preciousness of our faith, has been misplaced and we have begin to see things of This world as precious, and then when tragedy strikes as it will, we are left with nothing.
Then Peter just restates what he said
2 Peter 1:10–11 NIV
Therefore, my brothers and sisters, make every effort to confirm your calling and election. For if you do these things, you will never stumble, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Brothers and Sister when we are treasuring our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and keeping the great and precious promises dear to our heart, and growing in our knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ, our source of joy, love godliness is in Jesus Christ.
Then when tragedies strike, and they will, and we lose what we love here in the world, we still have love. because our source of Love is Jesus Christ. We will be broken hearted for a time, but because our joy is in Jesus Christ, we have a joy that will never end.
We can love, continue to love, for when things of the world that we love go away, Jesus Christ who first loved us, who is our hope and is our rock of our salvation, will be with us.
Making every effort to add to our our faith will keep us from stumbling, , and one day we will be welcomed into the glorious presence of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Our faith is not for no reason. We have faith to face the storms, and to escape the corruption of the world, for our faith to be productive and accomplish the purpose God has for it, we have to make every effort.
Brothers and sisters I implore you take the faith that you have recieved from God our Father in the Lord Jesus treat the promises God gave you in Jesus Christ as precious, and make every effort to reflect the glory of Jesus in your lives, by growing in goodness knowledge self-control perseverance, godliness, mutual affection and love. Brothers and Sisters posses these things, and you won’t stumble. you won’t be unproductive in the Lord and be sure that you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our great God and Savior Jesus,
In Jesus name.
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