Faithlife Sermons

The Proof of Faith

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How can the believer be certain that he is growing spiritually? Peter gave three evidences of true spiritual growth.
Peter tells us plainy:
2 Peter 1:8–11 NASB 2020
8 For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they do not make you useless nor unproductive in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For the one who lacks these qualities is blind or short-sighted, having forgotten his purification from his former sins. 10 Therefore, brothers and sisters, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choice of you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble; 11 for in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you.
Fruitfulness (v. 8).
2 Peter 1:8 NASB 2020
8 For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they do not make you useless nor unproductive in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Christian character is an end in itself, but it is also a means to an end.
The more we become like Jesus Christ, the more the Spirit can use us in witness and service.
The believer who is not growing is idle (“barren”) and unfruitful.
His knowledge of Jesus Christ is producing nothing practical in his life.
Some of the most effective Christians I have known are people without dramatic talents and special abilities, or even exciting personalities; yet God has used them in a marvelous way.
Why?
Because they are becoming more and more like Jesus Christ.
They have the kind of character and conduct that God can trust with blessing.
They are fruitful because they are faithful; they are effective because they are growing in their Christian experience.
Vision (v. 9).
2 Peter 1:9 NASB 2020
9 For the one who lacks these qualities is blind or short-sighted, having forgotten his purification from his former sins.
Nutritionists tell us that diet can certainly affect vision and this is especially true in the spiritual realm.
The unsaved person is in the dark because Satan has blinded his mind.
2 Corinthians 4:3–4 NASB 2020
3 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, 4 in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they will not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
A person has to be born again before his eyes are opened and he can see the kingdom of God.
John 3:3 NASB 2020
3 Jesus responded and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless someone is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
But after our eyes are opened, it is important that we increase our vision and see all that God wants us to see.
The phrase cannot see afar off is the translation of a word that means “shortsighted.” It is the picture of somebody closing or squinting his eyes, unable to see at a distance.
There are some Christians who see only their own church, or their own denomination, but who fail to see the greatness of God’s family around the world.
Then there are christians who can see sin in others a mile off, but cannot see it in themselves.
If we forget what God has done for us, we will not be excited to share Christ with others.
Through the blood of Jesus Christ we have been purged and forgiven!
God has opened our eyes!
Let’s not forget what He has done!
Rather, let’s cultivate gratitude in our hearts and sharpen our spiritual vision.
Life is too brief and the needs of the world too great for God’s people to be walking around with their eyes closed!
Security (vv. 10–11).
2 Peter 1:10–11 NASB 2020
10 Therefore, brothers and sisters, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choice of you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble; 11 for in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you.
If you walk around with your eyes closed, you will stumble!
But the growing Christian walks with confidence because he knows he is secure in Christ.
It is not our profession of faith that guarantees that we are saved; it is our progression in the faith that gives us that assurance.
The person who claims to be a child of God but whose character and conduct give no evidence of spiritual growth is deceiving himself and heading for judgment.
Peter pointed out that “calling” and “election” go together.
The same God who elects His people also ordains the means to call them.
The two must go together, as Paul wrote to the Thessalonians: “God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation … Whereunto He called you by our Gospel” (2 Thes. 2:13–14).
We do not preach election to unsaved people; we preach the Gospel.
But God uses that Gospel to call sinners to repentance, and then those sinners discover that they were chosen by God!
Peter also pointed out that election is no excuse for spiritual immaturity or for lack of effort in the Christian life.
Some believers say, “What is going to be is going to be.
There is nothing we can do.” But Peter admonishes us to “be diligent.”
The Christian who is sure of his election and calling will never “stumble” but will prove by a consistent life that he is truly a child of God.
He will not always be on the mountaintop, but he will always be climbing higher.
Conclusion:
2 Peter 1:11 NASB 2020
11 for in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you.
The Greeks used this phrase to describe the welcome given Olympic winners when they returned home.
Every believer will arrive in heaven, but some will have a more glorious welcome than others.
Alas, some believers “shall be saved, yet so as by fire” (1 Cor. 3:15).
Just think of the blessings that the growing Christian enjoys: fruitfulness, vision, security—and heaven’s best! All this and heaven too!
The Christian life begins with faith, but that faith must lead to spiritual growth—unless it is dead faith.
But dead faith is not saving faith (James 2:14–26).
Faith leads to growth and growth leads to practical results in life and service.
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