Faithlife Sermons

ES2PeJ05 2 Peter 1:5-9 Knowledge and Self Control

2 Peter and Jude  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  29:39
0 ratings
Sermon Tone Analysis
View more →
2 Peter 1:5–9 CSB
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. 9 The person who lacks these things is blind and shortsighted and has forgotten the cleansing from his past sins.
Last time we spoke of adding to our faith virtue which has to do with becoming like Jesus, to do those things which are honourable and praise-worthy.
God has done His part in bringing us back into reconciliation, back into fellowship with God that we are to give all our effort, all diligence into supplementing our faith.
Today, we are going to look at more additions and supplementation:


To our faith we add virtue, to our virtue we are to add knowledge.
Knowledge is one of the main themes of Peter’s letter.
What is knowledge? It is insight and understanding.
Here Peter assumes we have come to the point of knowledge regarding Jesus being our Saviour. We know this because knowledge has come after faith and virtue. We need true knowledge in order to come to faith. If we do not have faith then having virtue before true knowledge is religion, a working towards being accepted by God. What is true knowledge? It is that Jesus came to earth, died for our sins, and rose again in the flesh. We have to know these things to be saved in the first place. If we deny this we have definitely not yet come to faith in Christ; we are not Christians but if we acknowledge these things yet this knowledge has not become reality, that is, if we have not put our trust in Christ to save us then we are in the same predicament as we find in:
James 2:19 NKJV
19 You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble!
There has to be a movement from the head to the heart, from knowing mentally to knowing experimentally. Otherwise we are those who have knowledge but lack wisdom about the right course of action; we know but we refuse to allow this knowledge to make a real-life difference. This is the problem for those who accept that Jesus did rise from the dead for the evidence is overwhelming but decide they like their lives the way they are and do not assimilate Jesus’ commands to repent and be baptised. For me this is the stupidest thing to do because it is not only this life that is affected by such decision of the will but the next:
John 3:18 NKJV
18 “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
The word believed has to be more than the devils’ believing - it means to put our trust, our lives on the line for the One who put His life on the line for us. Otherwise it is as Paul writes:
2 Timothy 3:7 NKJV
7 always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.
So, we have established Peter is not talking about saving knowledge in today’s passage though it is clear that God is He
1 Timothy 2:4 CSB
4 who wants everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
So, if Peter is not talking about the knowledge that brings us to faith in the first place then it is a different kind of knowledge.
We have the initial knowledge but now we need to know more. We need to learn about God and His ways. We need to learn more about the salvation that was bought for us and all that Jesus achieved and the assurance He gives us of eternal life. We need to learn about the Bible, about the Trinity, about angels and demons, about creation and people, about God’s view of the Church, about last things and its consummation, to know about God and who He is, to know about Christ and who He is, to know about the Holy Spirit and who He is. Then we need to learn about God’s will and purpose: what does He require of us?
How do we go about this except by listening to sermons, reading the bible, studying the bible, reading books and in our day-to-day relationship with God and with each other. There is an expectation on Peter’s part that this adding to is a continual adding to and adding to and adding to.
Of course, knowledge is responsibility. We are to grow in knowledge and use it wisely and to teach others. We do not gain knowledge for the sake of knowledge because this will simply puff us up and make us proud. There is a reason why knowledge is added to virtue, to becoming like Christ because knowledge has to be seated in good works, a practical outworking of this knowledge. The more we know the more we should be virtuous. Knowledge without wisdom simply makes us encyclopedias.
We need to hear what Scripture says about adding knowledge:
Romans 12:2 NKJV
2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
We are in life-long learning centres. We are never to stop learning, always gaining knowledge of Christ and His ways. Part of this is to discern evil and sin and how to avoid it. It is wisdom and discernment for living according to the will of God.
But even then this is not enough. Yes, we are to gain knowledge but the end point is that we know God. Knowing about God and knowing Him are not the same.

The story is told of a religious gathering where a famous actor and an elderly minister were both present. The actor, while not on the program, was nevertheless asked by the emcee to come forward and give a word. At a loss as to what to say, he turned to the elderly minister and whispered, “I don’t really know what to do.” The seasoned pastor shoved his Bible into the hands of the actor and replied, “Just read Psalm 23.” The actor stood and with his eloquent voice read the psalm. When finished, he wasn’t quite sure what to do, so he turned to the minister and announced, “Well, I’d like the minister to come up and say a few words on this.” The minister surprised everyone by merely reciting the psalm again and then sitting down. The actor leaned over to him and said, “You did much better than I, and now I understand why. I knew the psalm, but you knew the Shepherd.” That’s the kind of knowledge we should be after. Peter isn’t interested in anything less.7 Knowing God personally, intimately, is the most important kind of knowledge we should strive to possess.

There is an old hymn by Eliza Hewitt which expresses this desire:

More about Jesus would I know,

More of his grace to others show;

More of his saving fulness see,

More of his love who died for me.

Indeed adding knowledge is so important to Peter he ends his letter in this way:
2 Peter 3:18 NKJV
18 but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen.


To our faith we have added virtue, to virtue knowledge, and to knowledge we are to add self-control.
Self control is part of the fruit of the Spirit that we looked at 18 months ago in Galatians 5 but there is no reason why we should not revisit it as way of a reminder.
Self control also has an old fashioned word attached to it and that is ‘temperance’.
So, what is temperance? It is to be strong, robust, have power over, master, control, to curb, to restrain, to control one’s self. It is the virtue of one who masters their desires and passions. It is the denial of our evil desires and the ability to lead oneself. Self-control is one part of the fruit of the Spirit but it means more than simply us being in control of self but is actually someone who is controlled by God. This happens when we are more yielded to the Spirit, walking in the Spirit and not the flesh.
Note the order in this verse:
James 4:7 NKJV
7 Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.
The order again is to submit or yield to God. Without this we will not overcome. And then we can resist and win.
What things do we need to be temperate in? This, of course, is not an exclusive list: To control one’s anger; the amount of TV we watch; the amount of sleep we have; the amount of food we eat; it is to have complete control over the tongue.
Peter speaks of the tongue in his first letter:
1 Peter 3:10 NKJV
10 For “He who would love life And see good days, Let him refrain his tongue from evil, And his lips from speaking deceit.
and James is even more forthright:
James 3:1–12 CSB
1 Not many should become teachers, my brothers, because you know that we will receive a stricter judgment. 2 For we all stumble in many ways. If anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is mature, able also to control the whole body. 3 Now if we put bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we direct their whole bodies. 4 And consider ships: Though very large and driven by fierce winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. 5 So too, though the tongue is a small part of the body, it boasts great things. Consider how a small fire sets ablaze a large forest. 6 And the tongue is a fire. The tongue, a world of unrighteousness, is placed among our members. It stains the whole body, sets the course of life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell. 7 Every kind of animal, bird, reptile, and fish is tamed and has been tamed by humankind, 8 but no one can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. 9 With the tongue we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in God’s likeness. 10 Blessing and cursing come out of the same mouth. My brothers and sisters, these things should not be this way. 11 Does a spring pour out sweet and bitter water from the same opening? 12 Can a fig tree produce olives, my brothers and sisters, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a saltwater spring yield fresh water.
So, who here can claim we have full self-control? It is all the more important then that we take note of this one in particular and increase in our control of our tongues.
To be temperate is also active in the sense we put our lives in order and add to it spiritual devotions of prayer and Scripture.

It calls for a self-disciplined life following Christ’s example of being in the world but not of the world.

It is to knowledge that we add temperance so knowledge has responsibility. That responsibility is the knowledge of what is right and wrong. Therefore practise self-control.
We are warned don't become entangled in the pollution of the world again by both Peter and Paul:
2 Peter 2:20 NKJV
20 For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning.
Galatians 5:1 NKJV
1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.
So self-control us also part of the good news. This sounds weird to our ears today for I do not remember anyone ever preaching on this
Acts 24:25 NKJV
25 Now as he reasoned about righteousness, self-control, and the judgment to come, Felix was afraid and answered, “Go away for now; when I have a convenient time I will call for you.”
Self-control relates to repentance. It is our lack of self-control that is going to put us before the Judgement Seat to answer for it.
How do we exercise self control?
Psalm 119:11 NKJV
11 Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You.
The more knowledge we have it of God’s word the more we are aware of those things which please or displease God. We will hear the voice of God’s Word coming through when there are times of temptations and then we need the self-control to ensure we act upon God’s Word rather than the temptation.
We are told in no uncertain terms that sin shall not have the mastery over you for we are a slave to whatever has control over us.
1 Corinthians 10:13 NKJV
13 No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.
Most temptations come through the eye into the mind.
This is why we find that old saint, Job, in the Old Testament had got it right when he said:
Job 31:1 CSB
1 I have made a covenant with my eyes. How then could I look at a young woman?
Why, because
James 1:14 NKJV
14 But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed.
We see, we desire, we think, we lust, we sin. There is a process to failing. But someone who has self-control stops at the sight (he/she controls what he focuses on). Don’t look twice!
We can lust after many things - be it a car, a house, money, fame, reputation - most of these start with the eyes. Self control does not allow such thoughts to continue. Temptation come to us in more ways than just seeing but can come through any of our senses.
Horae Homileticae Vol. 20: James to Jude Discourse 2419: The Christian’s Graces (2 Pet. 1:5–9)

We should sit loose to all the things of time and sense, as well to those which are lawful as those which are unlawful! “using every thing so as not to abuse ith

We are all tempted but like Jesus we should not sin. And remember how He was self-controlled because He knew God’s Word and said in his battle with the devil: It is written. We cannot say this if we do not know God’s Word ourselves.
I have spoken of this before as a help in temptations and that is the verse found in:
Romans 12:21 NKJV
21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Instead of doing whatever you are tempted to do do something good…make a phone call, visit, read your Bible, just do something else. Most temptations last about 20 minutes so we need to find something alternative to do to overcome the initial onslaught. In the end it is a battle of wills for to do something else you have to decide.
Life Application Bible Commentary, 1 & 2 Peter and Jude Guidance for Growing Christians / 1:3–21

Self-control requires an honest look at your strengths and weaknesses, with emphasis on the latter. It means building the will to say no when a powerful appetite inside you screams yes.

• No to fatty food, choosing health instead.

• No to friends who will lead you away from Christ.

• No to casual sex, saving intimacy for marriage.

• No to laziness in favor of “can do” and “will do.”

Self-control is a long, steady course in learning attitudes that do not come naturally, and channeling natural appetites toward God’s purposes. Where are your weak points? Pray with a friend for God’s help to redirect weakness into strength.

So self control is also about self discipline. We have plenty of examples of people who had self-discipline to become excellent at what they do. Paul uses such an illustration for us too:
1 Corinthians 9:24–27 NKJV
24 Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. 25 And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. 26 Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. 27 But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.

Peter is saying to those learning to follow Christ, “Begin to control yourself. Say no to ungodly passions. Grow up. Get on your feet; pick up your faith; do what is right; increase in your knowledge of God; for your own salvation’s sake, begin to control yourself.”

With that said we cannot be self-controlled or temperate without the Spirit of God: we need to pray for the help of the Holy Spirit so ask God to fill us daily. The prayer Jesus taught us to request of God: Lead me not into temptation and deliver me from evil.
There is the saying once an alcoholic always an alcoholic or once a thief always a thief. But this is not how God sees it. The old is gone. The new is come. I was an alcoholic, I was a thief, I was…And now we will always have a way of escape when temptation comes to us: Being self-controlled is discipline, discipline becomes good habits, good habits lead to right living, right living leads to us to being more like Jesus.


2 Peter 3:18 NKJV
18 but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen.


Barton, B. B. (1995). 1 Peter, 2 Peter, Jude. Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Pub.
Bentley, M. (1990). Living for Christ in a Pagan World: 1 and 2 Peter Simply Explained. Darlington, England: Evangelical Press.
Brand, C., Draper, C., England, A., Bond, S., Clendenen, E. R., Butler, T. C., & Latta, B. (Eds.). (2003). In Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary. Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
Gardner, P. (1998). 2 Peter & Jude. Ross-shire, Great Britain: Christian Focus Publications.
Helm, D. R. (2008). 1 & 2 Peter and Jude: sharing christ’s sufferings. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.
Leadership Ministries Worldwide. (1996). 1 Peter–Jude. Chattanooga, TN: Leadership Ministries Worldwide.
Simeon, C. (1833). Horae Homileticae: James to Jude (Vol. 20). London: Holdsworth and Ball.
Spurgeon, C. (2014). Spurgeon Commentary: 2 Peter. (E. Ritzema & C. S. Wolcott, Eds.). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
Exported from Logos Bible Software, 16:38 24 May 2019.
Related Media
Related Sermons