Whose are You?
How you know..
How you know..
Over the past few weeks as I have struggled. As I study the Bible I always have questions. I wind up sometimes on searches that for many may seem trivial. Yet to me they are expeditions into not just knowing about the God of the bible. But really knowing the God of the bible. So in essence learning the story of God. What is it that God has revealed to us that helps us to draw closer to Him? And realistically as i study 2 Peter, looking at the insights that a simple fisherman wrote fascinates the stuffin out of me.
Have you ever been to a build a bear workshop? You pick your bear. and then to get to decide hoe soft or pliable that thing is. You determine his stuffing. You get to choose it’s accessories. Even if he has a voice. Just for a moment imagine you can make that bear come to life. As he came to life his stuffing changed. His little stuffed heart changes. In a sense that is what Peter is writing about. God changes us. In Ezekiel 36 he writes I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.
The New International Version (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011), Eze 36:26.
This morning as we continue our look at what Peter wrote, I want you to see this one thing. How we live says whose we are.
More than that I want us to realize there are things about the challenges Peter gives us that should not only challenge us, but inspire us to live better lives.
5 For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with goodness, goodness with knowledge, 6 knowledge with self-control, self-control with endurance, endurance with godliness, 7 godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. 8 For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being useless or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
When we are sharing our faith we have gotten in the habit of using diagnostic questions. The idea of these questions is two fold. One is that it tells us the person we are talking with’s story, and two it helps you to see where they are in regards to what we believe. It helps us see what they believe about God. We do this because there are a lot of people who believe they are Christians, that do not understand what the Bible says a Christian is.
One of those questions we ask is if you were to walk out that door and get hit by a bus would you go to heaven? What breaks my heart is when I ask someone who claims to be a Christian answers that question with either I think so, or I hope so. The Bible is clear that you can know. John writes about the fact that God Himself has given us a testimony about Jesus. He writes and this is the testimony that God has given to those who believe in Jesus Christ, “God has given us eternal life and this life is in His Son. Whoever has the son has life whoever does not have the son does not have life. I have written these things to you who believe in the Son of God so that you may know you have eternal life.
We can know we have that life. But too often we doubt it. Too often we live like we do not know. We are never taught that there are ways we can know. Oh sure some charismatic believers grab onto texts and chase them. But there are better clearer tests. Today we will look at a few. You see it isn’t about what we do. It is about what God does through us.
Tuesday night we looked at some of those we find in the book of Romans.
This morning I want to look at a few here in 2 Peter.
We have talked about how we make an effort to live out our faith. It is a natural occurence. If something changes in your life there are naturally consequences to that change. But there are times when things change and we need to make an effort to change with them. When you graduate from High School, there is a job that follows. Often it is a job and college. But college is work. When you graduate college you have to take what you learned in college and apply it.
When you get married you have to make an effort to live with your spouse. When you have children it takes effort to always be somewhere else when a diaper needs changes. When you get a job, you have to make an effort to keep that job..\\
When you become a believer in Jesus, you need to make an effort to understand God.
You see faith is a gift from God. Look at verse five with me
5 For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with goodness, goodness with knowledge,
Lets focus in on that word goodness.
Look back at verse 3. His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through the knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.
Arete- the same word is used in both places. Not the word that means to do good. This word is often translated virtue. It means essential intrinsic goodness. For example when it refers to God - we understand that it means God cannot do anything but be good.
When a person it is about a trait in them that lives in them all the time. Even when they are asleep- it is who they are. Peter chose this word specifically. I think it is because he wants us to see something more. In verse 3 . God acts out of His goodness. His actions are because of his character. But even more..
Peter is fusing glory and goodness- he puts them both together in both 1 Peter and again here. Peter emphasizes that we have been called out of darkness and then given everything we need. Could this be a reference to the Old Testament?
In Exodus 33 and 34 God is threatening to abandon Israel because of their idolatry, their stiff necked ways and the constant rebellion. Moses argues with God and pleads with him to stay. And God relents to stay.
Then Moses says God show me your glory.
God tells Moses to hide in the cleft of the Rock and I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the LORD in your presence.
Here God himself equates his glory with his goodness.
Them Moses went up on the mountain and God spoke to him.
Peter had a similar experience. At the mount of transfiguration, he heard God say, This is my beloved son- listen to him. In just a few verses he even mentions that day. Eyewitnesses to His Majesty. Like Moses Peter was an eyewitness to the majestic glory and goodness of God. Both attributes come together to describe one attribute of Who God is. Not simply an attribute really, but a compilation of who God is.
Mark Buchanan writes “His goodness is his Godness..
When Peter writes add to your faith goodness it isn’t a simple exhortation of do the right thing. It isn't just a call to keep ourself pure, to take a shower and brush your teeth. It is an invitation to enter into a personal intimate encounter with God- to participate in the divine nature of God Himself.
I wonder what that looks like. I wonder about the acceptance of that invitation. What is the impact of that on a person, what does it require. And then I think about the rich young ruler.
Mark says he ran up to Jesus and fell on his knees and proclaimed “Good Teacher what must I Do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus answers him with a question, why do you call me Good? Matthew puts it differently. What Good thing must I do- and Jesus answers him here with Why? do you ask me what is good. There is only one who is good.
Jesus tells him a good thing to do. The man cannot do it.
The point is we want to do what is good. We do not focus on being good.
The bible is clear-Romans 3:12 tells us that no one does good, not even one.In Romans 7:18 the bible tells us that apart from God in us nothing good lives in us. Paul writes that the desire to do good is there, but the ability is not.
So how can I be good? How if we are not capable of doing good how on earth can I be what scripture tells me I am not?
Become a true worshipper. Remember Johne Piper wrote Missions exist because worship does not. We are called by God to be better worshippers. When we love God with all our hearts all our strength and mind we experience true freedom and the ability to love others. Paul uses this same word for goodness in
9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his possession, so that you may proclaim the praises of the one who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.
Where he says to Proclaim the praises of the one- Praises of the one is that same word arete- but with theos on the End. The Goodness or excellency of God.
When we proclaim- say out loud the goodness of God the more w hear it the more we understand it teh more we believe it the more we live it. The more we praise the glory and the Goodness of God, the more we grow in it. The moe we get to participate in his divine nature. So we worship.
Next we follow His spirit. Jesus living in you cultivates goodness in you. Galatians 5:20
Ya ever notice that Paul writes about Christ living in you right before he points out the fruit of the spirit? Loook at what happens
17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
We are being transformed into his image with ever increasing glory.. As we become more like Him we share in his goodness His glory. We experience freedom in worship, he becomes more intense in every aspect of who we are.
Then we find a model. Over and over I have discovered there are no lone ranger christians. And that I cannot do this on my own. I need someone to look up to. We all need a Paul. Paul wrote imitate me as I imitate Christ. Live out the faith you see in them. As they live out the faith they see in Jesus.
Goodness is our goal. My goodness that is really Christ living in me.
Fred Mitchell was a chairman of the China Inland Mission. When he died the man who delivered his eulogy said this “You never caught Fred Mitchell off his guard, because he never needed to be on it.”
Are you following Jesus close enough where you do not have to worry about that?
Is the Goodness of God living in You?