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Keep on Growing

2 Peter   •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  41:05
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How do you detect a counterfeit? How do you detect something that is fake or false? Do you study the counterfeit? Or do you study the genuine article? When the banks or government officials want to train people in the art of spotting counterfeit money guess what they have them study? They have them study the real thing. And they give them specific steps on how to do so. The approach to distinguishing a genuine bill is summarized with the phrase, “touch, tilt, look at, look through.” Touch- does it feel like the real thing? Tilt- does it have the specific marks that reveal it to be the real thing? Then look at, and look through- all in an effort to analyze each bill for the real thing.
How do you detect counterfeit doctrine? How do you detect when a teaching is something that is fake or false? Do you study the false teaching? Or do you study the genuine article? How carefully should we be studying the Word of God so that we can confidently know the truth? How accurately should we be able to discern truth from error? When we hear a teaching, or when we see a trend, or when we see our friends or family making spiritual changes in their lives do we touch, tilt, look at, or look through that doctrinal teaching all in an effort to analyze each teaching for the real thing?
This is exactly how Peter closes his letter to the believers in Central Asia. Peter commands these local church believers to make sure that the teachings they are following are the real thing.
Every believer is responsible to make sure that the teaching/the doctrine they are following is the real thing.
How do we do that? How do we become experts at identifying and living out the real thing, that is, how do we become experts at following the real teachings of the Word of God?
Peter gives us three imperative to follow in vv. 15-18

I. We must carefully consider the original/authorial intent of the Scripture (vv. 15-16)

2 Peter 3:15–16 KJV 1900
15 And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; 16 As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.
What is the issue Peter is dealing with in this letter?
And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation;
15 καὶ τὴν τοῦ κυρίου ⸀ἡμῶν μακροθυμίαν σωτηρίαν ἡγεῖσθε,*
And consider/reckon (IMPERATIVE) the patience (longsuffering) of our Lord as salvation.
Why is it so important to Peter that these believers reckon or consider to be true that the patience or longsuffering of the Lord as salvation?
Has this issue come up previously in Peter’s letter?
2 Peter 3:3–4 KJV 1900
3 Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, 4 And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.
What is the argument of the false teachers in v. 4? What specifically are they calling into question? Why are they calling this into question? What evidence do they offer to support their teaching?
How does Peter combat this argument?
2 Peter 3:9 KJV 1900
9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
What does it mean that the Lord is not slack? What is God not slow about? What promise specifically is in mind here? How would some men characterize God’s slowness? How should we think about God’s “slowness”? What is the difference between thinking of God as slow verses thinking of God as longsuffering? What is the purpose of God’s longsuffering?
So coming back to v. 15 what is the issue?
2 Peter 3:15 KJV 1900
15 And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you;
What is the reason Peter gives that we should interpret Scripture this way, and not the way the false teachers want us to interpret it?
The false teachers want the believers to think that God is never going to keep His promise of coming back or returning so as a result you can follow any desire of your lusts that you want because if God does not come back then there is no accountability.
Peter says- no! That is false, that is counterfeit doctrine. Don’t believe them, instead consider the longsuffering of the Lord as salvation. Why should we? What is the thing that will help us determine which teaching to believe?
Peter’s answer is very interesting. Listen to what Peter says,
2 Peter 3:15–16 KJV 1900
15 And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; 16 As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.
How does Peter answer the question of why? Why should we discredit the false teacher’s doctrine and instead accept his own doctrine? How do we tell the counterfeit?
What does Peter say? Any idea? Why does Peter start talking about the Apostle Paul? Isn’t that weird? What in the world does that have to do with what you are talking about Peter?
At first glace this doesn’t seem like relevant information. But look more closely. Peter says this, “even as our beloved brother Paul … has written unto you...” What has Paul written unto the churches in Asia Minor?
Look at v. 16
2 Peter 3:16 KJV 1900
16 As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.
What epistles are Peter talking about? What are the “these things” that Paul is writing about in these epistles? How many things are hard to be understood? Not a lot, not all- for the most part Scripture is easy to understand. But the Bible does have easy things to understand- the milk of the Word. And it does have hard things to understand- the meat of the Word. How much of Paul’s Epistles is Meat? Some things.
When the false teachers try to interpret the hard things of Paul’s epistles what do they end up doing to them?
They wrest them. What does it mean to wrest something?
Twist, make taut’ of cables, then in various senses of wrenching dislocated limbs for the purpose of setting them, and of the use of tortuous devices in the course of inquiries. 1). to cause inward pain, torture, torment (Diod S 16, 61, 3 tortured by anxiety) 2). to distort a statement so that a false mng. results, twist, distort
Why do the false teachers twist the teachings of Paul?
They are unlearned/ignorant and they are unstable/weak
What can we assume is required to understand the hard things of Scripture?
Do these false teachers only twist Paul’s letters? No they twist the rest of Scripture.
Do you think it is significant that Apostle Peter recognizes the Apostle Paul’s Epistles to be on par with the rest of Scripture? Why?
This is important- who’s opinion matters the most when determining the proper interpretation of the Scriptures? Did the false teachers interpretation matter in defining meaning? Or did the Apostle Paul’s interpretation matter in defining meaning? What about the rest of Scripture? If these false teachers are twisting the rest of Scripture, then who’s interpretation matters in defining meaning? The author’s interpretation in what matters. It is the original intent or the authorial intent of Scripture that matters when determining meaning.
Why does this matter so much? Why is this an important principle or hermeneutic to apply when trying to determine a counterfeit doctrine?
Imagine if truth was determined by the reader. Imagine if Paul wrote his epistles to mean one thing, but then these false teachers came along and interpreted it to mean whatever they wanted it to mean and that became the new truth. Would that cause problems?
Imagine that I created a new line of hair dye. Let’s say I made a hair dye that was made primarily from the juice of a beet. What color would that dye most likely change someone’s hair into? So, on the label I carefully wrote that this dye changes your hair into the color purple. But let’s say you come along and you read my message and you decide, I know it says purple, but I really think it means brown. I am going to use this hair dye to change my hair to be brown in color. How is that going to work? Whose interpretation of the label is the one that determines meaning?
Have you ever heard someone say this, “You read the Bible and it means one thing to you, but I read the Bible and it means something completely different to me, and we can both be right!” Or, “how do you know that you are right, and the other person is wrong?”
How do you determine the counterfeit?
What Peter is telling us is that we must carefully consider the original/authorial intent of the Scripture is we want to become experts at following the real teachings of the Word of God.
What happens if you get it wrong?
What happened to the false teachers?
2 Peter 3:16 NASB95
16 as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction.
How important is it to become experts at following the real teachings of the Word of God?
One of the best things you can do as you read the Scriptures is ask the question, “What did the original author mean when he wrote this?”
What did PAUL mean, what did PETER mean. It doesn’t matter what you want it to mean- it matters what the author wanted it to mean when he wrote it. That has the be the definitive standard of truth. Otherwise we end up with chaos and nonsense.
If meaning is determined by the reader, that is if truth is relative, then I can make truth to be whatever I want. And it doesn’t even need to be absolute.
What is 2+2? Well to you it might be 4. But to me, 2+2=5. And guess what? If we each get to determine what our own truth is for ourselves, then we are both right! 2+2 can be 4 for you and for me it can be 5 and we can both be right.
But what if we disagree about what truth is the most truthful version of the truth? What if your truth impacts my life somehow in a way that I don’t want it to?
I know for all of human history boys have been boys and girls have been girls. But what if I want to say that boys can be girls and vise versa, and they can change their minds anytime they want, and this is now the new definition of truth? What if we don’t agree? Who is right? Whoever gets the most votes on election day? Whoever holds the loudest protests? Whoever carries the biggest stick? This kind of relative truth turns into survival of the fittest, and that is pure chaos and nonsense.
Instead, we can find an absolute definite standard of truth in God’s Word. We find it in the authorial intent of the Scriptures. Because it is not man’s opinion at all is it?
2 Peter 1:20–21 NASB95
20 But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, 21 for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.
How do you determine the counterfeit?
Do you actively seek for the original intent of the author when you seek to interpret Scripture?
Have you been duped by men twisting the Word of God to make it say whatever they want it to say?
Do you want to become an expert at following the real teachings of the Word of God?
How do you do that?

II. We must be purposely skeptical of the teachings of men (v. 17)

2 Peter 3:17 KJV 1900
17 Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness.
What should we do when we find the word “therefore” in a passage of Scripture? Go back to the previous argument. What was the previous argument that Peter was making? What are the dangers that Peter was warning us against in v. 16? Are there still false teachers at large today that are ignorant and unstable? Do they still seek to twist the authorial intent of Scripture? What should we do about it? Peter tells us- therefore, because this is still just as true today as it was when Peter wrote about it- do this. Do what? Let’s keep reading.
Before we answer the question what should we do about it, let’s think about who Peter is addressing in v. 17.
Therefore, you beloved- Who is the “you beloved” referring to? Every believer who is a part of the local churches in Central Asia. Why is this important to realize? If Peter is giving this command to every believer in the church back then, who does it apply to today?
So what does Peter require of you beloved?
“Seeing that you know these things beforehand”
What are the these things? Ignorant and unstable men twist Scripture unto their own destruction.
“Beware” Lit. be on your guard (prest, act, imperative)
Have you ever gotten an email from the son of the Nigerian King telling you that he wants to give all of his inheritance money to you, but first he needs you to send him several hundred dollars to process legal fees and charges? What should your instant reaction be when you get emails like this one? Skepticism. Be very very skeptical. The chances that this email is legitimate are -1000%. Don’t be duped. Don’t be taken advantage of. Be on your guard. Beware of the fake email- beware of the phony, false, counterfeit. Sometimes these emails are not that obvious. The scammers have gotten very good at deception. They pretend to be Dell or Microsoft or the IRS, but the key for avoiding such scams is to be purposefully skeptical. Know beforehand that scammers exist and that they will try anything to dupe you out of your hard earned money. Put your guard up, be skeptical and you should have no problems figuring out the scams.
How do you become an expert at following the real teachings of the Word of God? Beware, be on your guard, be purposefully skeptical of the teachings of men. You already know that right now, men are at large, who are ignorant and unstable, who twist the Scripture, whose goal is to led you away by error. What does Peter tells us to do about this fact? Be skeptical.
Of whom are we to be skeptical of?
2 Peter 3:17 KJV 1900
17 Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness.
The one’s who want to led you away with error. How are these men described? As wicked- the idea is lawless, having no principles, they will do anything necessary to get you to fall for their scams. So I just told you to be purposefully skeptical. Does that mean you are equally skeptical regarding every single person you come into contact with? Should you be more or less skeptical depending on who you are dealing with? Should you treat your pastor with the same skepticism as you would treat an unknown teacher? Who specifically does Peter tell us to be skeptical of? Should you be skeptical at all of people you trust, like your pastor?
Acts 17:11 KJV 1900
11 These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.
Were the Bereans skeptical of the Apostle Paul? Was there skepticism on the same level as the skepticism you would show to someone who claims to be from a cult? But did they exercise some level of skepticism? Why is this important for believers to do? Why not just accept everything your pastor says as true?
Back to 2 Pet 3.17
2 Peter 3:17 KJV 1900
17 Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness.
What is the danger if we are not putting up our guard to the error of unprincipled men? What will happen to us if we are not purposely skeptical?
We might fall from our own stedfastness.
Fall- To fall from some point, fall: lit., of withered flowers that fall to the ground. To drift or be blown off course and run aground, drift off course, run aground, nautical term. To change for the worse from a favorable condition, lose fig
If you want to get a ship to change its course without noticing, how would you go about it? Would you grab the rudder and immediately swing the ship around 180*? Or would you make subtle slight changes? Would you get the ship to slowly drift off course. When a flower withers and looses its peddles do they suddenly all fall off at once? Or does it happen slowly over the process of time, one by one they just fall off?
When people are looking for counterfeit money most of the time they are examining what denomination of bills? Large ones- 50’s or 100’s. Do they every stop and examine a 5 or a 1 dollar bill? Most counterfeit currency is 10 dollars or less. But we don’t care enough about the small currency to take any notice.
If someone wants to led you off course from following the real teachings of the Word of God how would they be most successful? Would they attack the big doctrines of the faith- like the deity of Christ or the unchangeable nature of God? Or would they get you to just drift slightly off course? What are some examples error’s of unprincipled men that cause us to slowly drift off course?
Prosperity gospel
Entertainment Christianity
Be out of the world, and not of the world
Traditions become more important than Doctrine (that’s the way we have always done it)
Ministry is about programs instead of people
I don’t have the spiritual gift of evangelism
What does the word “steadfastness” mean?
Firm commitment to conviction or belief. Were do we get these firm commitments or convictions from? Can we have commitments and convictions that are in error? How do we guard against believing in something that is in error? How should we determine the degree of our convictions? Should we be more committed to some beliefs and less to others? What beliefs should we major on? What beliefs should be minor to us? What is the standard that determines which convictions we should be dogmatic about, steadfast about, and which beliefs we should be less dogmatic about?
How do we become experts at following the real teachings of the Word of God?
We must carefully consider the original/authorial intent of the Scripture
We must be purposely skeptical of the teachings of men

III. We must be actively growing in Christlikeness (v. 18)

2 Peter 3:18 KJV 1900
18 But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.
What is the third imperative that Peter tells us to do in v. 18?
Grow in grace- keep on becoming greater (extent, size, state, or quality) Pres, Act, Imperative
What does the word “grace” mean? Undeserved and unearned favor, in spit of earned punishment.
What are some earthly examples? A teacher gives a student a better grade that that student has earned. A judge is lenient with a criminal and gives him a reprimand instead of a jail sentence.
How do you actively grow in grace? If grace is undeserved and unearned favor, how can you grow in grace? Isn’t grace something that has to be freely given to you? If you are required to actively grow in grace, doesn’t that mean you are somehow earning that grace?
Whose grace are we to grow into? The grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
What else are we supposed to grow into? The knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Why do you think Peter combined these two ideas? Grow in grace and knowledge?
What would a person’s life look like if they only grew in knowledge? How would that person’s life be different if they grew in knowledge and grace?
So how is it that we can grow in grace?
2 Peter 1:5–7 KJV 1900
5 And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; 6 And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; 7 And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.
Does this sound like working, growing, being active in our faith? We are the one’s putting in the effort, but Who is the One that actually changes us? Do we deserve that? Or is that something that is undeserved and unearned favor?
Coming back to our question: how do we become experts at following the real teachings of the Word of God?
We must be actively growing in Christlikeness- how does that help us to become experts at following the real teachings of the Word of God?
2 Peter 1:8–11 KJV 1900
8 For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. 10 Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: 11 For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
Example: Unexpected, God intended blessings of a Great Commission minded Christian.
1 Thessalonians 4:9–12 KJV 1900
9 But as touching brotherly love ye need not that I write unto you: for ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another. 10 And indeed ye do it toward all the brethren which are in all Macedonia: but we beseech you, brethren, that ye increase more and more; 11 And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you; 12 That ye may walk honestly toward them that are without, and that ye may have lack of nothing.
How do we become experts at following the real teachings of the Word of God?
We must carefully consider the original/authorial intent of the Scripture
We must be purposely skeptical of the teachings of men
We must be actively growing in Christlikeness
And what is the result when we do these things?
2 Peter 3:18 NASB95
18 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.
What does the end of v. 18 say?
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