November 3, 2013
1 Peter: Stand firm in God’s grace
Sermon Series: 1 Peter: Stand firm in God’s grace
Message: “Make every effort: on your journey of faith (Part 2) Text: 2 Peter 1:5-11
Introduction: In Matthew 16:24 Jesus said If anyone would come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me. Do you know who Jesus was talking to? His disciples, those who already said they believed Jesus was the Messiah.
- You see, being a Christian is not just about salvation.
- It’s what you do after you are saved, that shows that you are saved.
Does that make sense?
That’s the essence of what the Apostle Peter will tell us today. Christian, it’s just not enough that you are going to heaven when you die. It’s how you get there, how you live every day, that’s the true measure of being a follower of Jesus Christ.
That’s why Peter said we are to make every effort, to pull out all the stops, to know God the Father and His Son, Jesus, and to develop godliness.
Transition: Open your Bibles to 2 Peter 1:5 for its there we continue to study of what it means to make every effort on your journey of faith.
- 2 Peter 1:5-7 What effort?
Read: 2 Peter 1:5-7
Make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue
Virtue, not a word that’s often used in our vocabulary today. Why? Because we don’t like it. Again, why? Because it means moral excellence, purity of thought and action. It’s the same word used in verse 3 referring to Jesus’ character.
We live in a world where virtue is almost a negative quality. Ever been called a prude because you refused to laugh at a dirty joke or watch something on TV that is spiritually offensive? You see not only does misery love company, so does immorality.
One of Satan’s greatest desires, is to see the follower of Jesus Christ develop insensitivity to things immoral. And Satan’s toolbox to desensitize us to immorality contains the following power tools:
- TV, Movies, Music, Clothing, Books/Magazines, Internet
These are the areas where the Christian who overemphasizes their ‘freedom in Christ’ also underemphasizes their need for virtue/morality. And as a result, too many Christians end up like Peter says in verse 8…they are ineffective and unfruitful.
I don’t have a lot of time here but this is important.
- Please pay attention to what you watch, read, listen to and wear as a Christian.
- AND, please pay attention to what your children watch, read, listen to and wear.
The questionable things you allow today contribute to a lack of virtue/personal morality in your life and the live of your children. I’ve been here long enough to see it happen.
Make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue and virtue with knowledge.
Knowledge, in the Greek is the word gnosis.
- It’s both information (doctrine) about God and the Christian life
- and it’s the practical application of that information in how you choose to live for Christ.
Knowledge is God’s Truth, properly understood and properly applied.
Growth in knowledge is never complete. You can never say ‘I know all I need to know about God and the Christian life…I’m good.’
- Remember knowing Christian are growing Christians!
Let’s get practical:
- If you want to learn how to add virtue to your life, how to develop moral excellence, you have to study God’s Word to discover God’s standards… then, you have to do what it says.
- If you want to learn how to develop spiritual maturity as a Christian, you have to study God’s Word…then you have to do what it says.
We have a number of ways to study God’s Word here at CBC:
- Sunday School…yes for adults too
- Women’s Walk, Men’s Breakfast
- Small Groups
- Sunday sermons.
- Pioneer Girls
Every Christian, every Christian should be taking advantage of at least one of those opportunities if they want to grow in both knowledge of God and godliness. Remember His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us to His own glory and excellence (2 Peter 1:3)
That’s why Elder Wes and I constantly encourage you to get involved here at CBC, to study God’s Word in some forum, because we know it will deepen your spiritual growth and maturity.
Make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue and virtue with knowledge and knowledge with self-control
The Greek for self-control here means mastering one’s moods, desires and passions rather than being controlled by them. It’s the ability to ‘get a grip’ on those things that would lead you astray, that would move you away from virtue and the study and application of God’s Word.
- It’s living a disciplined life… Yes, for the follower of Jesus Christ, it’s faithfully following the commands of God in His Word.
- It’s making conscious choices to reject the world and all that it offers and live instead for your Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ.
Self-control is discipline to say no to those things that are the opposite of godliness.
Self-control is a fruit of the Spirit, the result of the follower of Jesus Christ walking in the Spirit, as the Spirit leads. But it also needs to be developed/nurtured as we intentionally live godly lives before an ungodly world.
Make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue and virtue with knowledge and knowledge with self-control and self-control with steadfastness
Steadfastness, perhaps your Bible says perseverance. It means patient endurance, being consistent.
- Self-control deals with making godly choices in specific situations.
- Steadfastness, is continuing to make those godly choices as a way of life. Even when it is difficult to do so.
- Steadfastness is not swerving to the right or to the left of God’s Word.
Make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue and virtue with knowledge and knowledge with self-control and self-control with steadfastness and steadfastness with godliness
Godliness, here it is again. Did you know that the pagans used this word to describe a religious person who kept in close contact with the gods. I think we can learn from that.
Godliness is keeping close to God.
- When we keep close to God, we develop a greater sense of His presence.
- A greater sense of God’s presence, helps us to see sin, and make right choices in relation to that sin.
- And a greater sense of God’s presence helps us see the guidance, strength and comfort available to us by His presence.
You see, godliness is not just a feeling or attitude; it’s the practical awareness of God in every part of your life. And it’s the choice to interact with God’s presence, with obedience.
Make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue and virtue with knowledge and knowledge with self-control and self-control with steadfastness and steadfastness with godliness and with godliness with brotherly affection
Brotherly affection is the Greek word Philadelphia … love for the brothers (and sisters too.) In the NT it’s the love Christians show for one another.
God takes loving other Christians very seriously.
Read: 1 John 4:20 If anyone says, I love God, and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.
Wow. We might disagree with a brother or sister in Christ, but we must never, ever, do anything to intentionally hurt them. If we do,
- it is a reflection of a lack of knowledge of God and His Son, Jesus,
- and a lack of right fellowship with God.
Here’s how God’s Word describes the love we are to have, in practical ways, for each other:
Read: Romans 15:7 Therefore, accept one another, just as Christ also accepted us to the glory of God. (NASB95)
Read: Galatians 6:10 So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.
Read: 1 John 1:7 Have fellowship one with another
Read: Ephesians 4:32 Be kind one to another, tenderhearted and forgiving one another
Read: 1 Thessalonians 5:11 Edify one another
Read: James 5:16 Pray one for another
Read: 1 Peter 4:9 Show hospitality to one another
How’s that for practical displays of love for your fellow Christian? All of which, by the way, are commands.
Make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue and virtue with knowledge and knowledge with self-control and self-control with steadfastness and steadfastness with godliness And with godliness with brotherly affection and brotherly affection with love
Wait… didn’t we just cover that? Actually, no. English is not a very precise language. Particularly when it comes to words like love.
- I love cheese steak hoagies!
- I love God’s people!
- I love my wife!
- I love God!
One word love in English that obviously doesn’t mean the same thing in each case.
Brotherly affection and love in the Greek are two different words. Brotherly affection is the Greek word Philadelphia, love is the Greek word agape.
Agape is an unconditional, unending, sacrificial kind of love.
- It’s the kind of love God has for His children.
- It’s the kind of love that seeks the other persons highest good, even when it’s at great cost to us.
- It is the kind of love that finds it base not in feeling but in will/choice.
It’s mentioned last in our text, because it’s not until we have added the other qualities / attributes / behaviors to our life, that we can develop and display agape love to others.
Of all the qualities/attributes/behaviors we are to develop and display, love is the greatest.
Read: 1 Corinthians 13:13 So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
Make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue and virtue with knowledge and knowledge with self-control and self-control with steadfastness and steadfastness with godliness and with godliness with brotherly affection and brotherly affection with love
Is there anything on that list that is particularly hard to understand? You don’t need a Bible College education to grasp the substance of those terms. But Peter warns us that we need to “make every effort” to add these things to our lives.
- What happens when we begin to develop these qualities / attributes / behaviors?
- What happens when we don’t?
Come back next week to find out.
Make every effort to supplement your faith.
Peter is saying your faith, while it is precious and what saves you,
- It’s not enough for living today in light of eternity,
- Faith alone is not enough to develop and display godliness.
We need to make every effort, to pull out all the stops, to be faith-full…how?
By adding/developing and nurturing
- virtue, knowledge, self-control, steadfastness, godliness, brotherly affection and love.
How? By taking advantage of all that God has provided to us for life and godliness.
So, are you making every effort, to faithfully follow Jesus?