Grow in the Knowledge of God
Scripture Reading: 2 Peter 1:4-8
Title: 2 Peter 1:1-4 - Grow in the Knowledge of God
Introduction: D.L. Moody quoting Dr. Bonar once said that he could tell when a Christian was growing. In proportion to his growth in grace he would elevate his Master, talk less of what he himself was doing, and become smaller and smaller in his own esteem, until, like the morning star, he faded away before the rising sun.
Central Idea: All has been given to you into order to live out holiness and godliness, if you will grow in your knowledge of God.
Main Transition: In our introduction to the book last week we understood that the theme to the book was found in the 3rd chapter verses 11-12. The theme of the book is you cannot stay the way you are, you must grow. Peter begins the book in a way that cuts to the heart, you can grow because you have been given all that you need to grow. So we start out our expository study of the book of 2 Peter by recognizing our precious faith, which is a gift from God and will grow when we understand His divine power. Peter then establishes God’s precious promises. We must not forget that Peter is all about remembering what was taught in the word of God by the men of God moved by the Spirit of God.
I. Our Precious Faith (1-2)
A. The servant author (1)
1. As we understood from last week, Peter the apostle of Jesus Christ wrote this epistle to the churches that were scattered by the persecution of Nero.
2. This is the second book to these believers, now Peter is at the end of his life and is writing one last letter, which likely reached the believers after his death.
3. But notice what Peter calls himself, Simon Peter a bondservant and Apostle of Jesus Christ. Look back at 1 Peter 1.
a. In the last years of Peter’s life at the climax of his ministry for Christ he was a servant of Christ first of all and then an apostle.
b. Peter is the man who you and I may very well be able to identify with the most of all the apostles, and to watch the same man who cut off an ear, deny Christ, and show partiality to certain ones in the church, reach the end of his life and say I am a servant first of all is evidence that what he is about to say should impact us and change us.
c. Peter was a man growing in grace. What Peter is about to say we really need to pay attention to.
B. The value of our faith (1)
1. The NASB says, “To those who have received a faith of the same kind as ours.”
a. The NKJV says it better when it says to those who have “obtained like precious faith.”
b. The emphasis is on the priceless value of our faith.
2. Peter says that we received it, he uses a unique word in the New Testament to refer to the truth that we did nothing to merit the gift of our faith, but rather it was by God’s sovereign choosing.
a. By using this wording Peter is reminding the readers of his first letter, where he expounded the fact that we who believer are were chosen before the foundations of the world were laid.
b. So Peter’s reference here indicates that our faith is valuable, because it came directly as a result of God’s giving the gift of salvation to you.
2. Now we recognize that our faith is precious
a. Peter uses a word that is used no where else to describe the value of our faith.
b. It was used of foreigners who had been granted the privileges of citizenship which were equal to those who were native born.
c. The faith given to those who believer was of equal honor and privilege with that of the Apostles faith. Your faith (Your ability to believe), your relationship with the Savior is of the same value as Peter’s
Application: This flies in the face of many religious systems in the world today. We do not need an earthly priest, because we have a high Priest that is God Himself, that is what Hebrews teaches us. We have one mediator between God and man and that is Christ. Your faith is precious, just as Peter’s faith was precious.
3. By the way the guaranteer of your faith is the righteousness of God and our Savior, Jesus Christ. This verse is one of the great passages of the Bible that teach that Christ is indeed God. God is one in three parts.
C. Growing in the knowledge of God (2)
1. This greeting comes at least in part straight out of Peter’s first book, Grace and Peace be multiplied to you.
2. This is not just a mere hello, God’s grace and peace will be granted as you grow
3. You are to grow in Knowledge, this requires a close intimate relationship with God
Application: You may say I am not growing in my relationship with Christ. Then Peter would respond, “Do you have a relationship with God, do you know God are you hungering to know God more?”
Transition: Peter from the very beginning is establishing some vital information. He doesn’t merely say hello, He says Grace and Peace are yours if you have a relationship with the master. True knowledge is not some magical formula pulled out of the air but depraved minds, but rather it comes as a result of a relationship with the master.
II. His Divine Power (3)
A. The gift of divine power
1. Peter is later going to challenge the readers to live in holy conduct and godliness. Is this an outrageous challenge?
2. To the servant Peter, he recognizes that we are equipped to live out holy conduct and godliness, even in a perverse and wicked generation.
a. Notice what he says, “His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness.”
b. Genuine believers are equipped to live holy lives.
B. The growth of our knowledge
1. Peter continues by revealing that there is a requirement, it is through the true knowledge of Him.
Application: The heresy that was impacting the church Peter was writing believed in secret knowledge. Peter makes the point that to grow in Christ, to be protected by divine power means that we each must grow in true knowledge.
a. True knowledge is known, and understood.
b. Again this is not some causal acquaintance, this is a deep relationship, with the Savior.
2. Christ’s example of excellence should serve as our standard.
a. It is the practice of showing Christ, by living like Christ that attracts the sinner.
b. Christ’s example is one of holy conduct and godliness, nothing less is required of the servants of God. This can only be accomplished through a close and careful relationship with the Savior.
Transition: Peter’s instruction to the scattered church is to cling onto your relationship with Christ. Protect it above everything, as it is what enables you to grow in the knowledge of our God and Savior Jesus Christ.
III. His Precious Promises (4)
A. Christ’s glory and goodness
1. Verse 4 begins by looking back to the end of verse 3
2. Christ’s precious promises are given as gift to you because of Christ’s glory and goodness.
a. The word for given carries with it the worth of the gift. The same word was used when Jesus’ body was given to Joseph of Arimathea
b. In that context the gift was none other than the body of the Savior of the World.
B. Our participation in Christ
1. The first promise is that of our participation with Christ.
2. This means that we are partners with Christ, 2 Cor 5:17, says that we become a new creation and the old has passed away. Christians can share in His moral victory over sin in this life and share in His glorious victory over death in eternal life.
C. Our protection from evil
1. in addition to our participation we also are able to be protected from the moral decay of the world.
Illustration: It doesn’t take much for us to realize that we are living in a decayed society. Many times I look at our world, or I hear a quote from some celebrity and I think we are so gone. We are nearly as evil as the record of Sodom and Gomorrah.
2. But for you believer, you are protected by this if you grow in the knowledge of God our Savior.
Conclusion: I warned you last week that Peter was going to be direct with us in this letter. You might join the ranks of those that say, I am not growing as a Christian, according to Peter’s letter this morning I ask you, “Then who’s fault is that?” God has given all that is necessary, why are you not building the relationship? God in His infinite wisdom still has given you a choice. If you are true believer in Jesus Christ, you can go about your day business as usual. Or, you can grow, all the pieces are there, just grow in your knowledge of God your Savior.