II Peter 1:3-8
Make Additions to Your Faith
II Peter 1:3-8
3 His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4 Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.
5 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7 and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. 8 For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins.
Surprising instructions. These are words that have helped the Apostle Peter. We saw last week that Peter was frustrated and confused by the working of God in his life and in the world. Not all the time, but when he was, Peter was out in front making big mistakes! “Get behind me Satan!” “You will deny me three times.” Part of the issue is that Peter doesn’t know what God is doing and part of the issue is that Peter does not know Peter! It is hard to be confident in God when we do not like or understand what is going on in our lives. Or when we have made mistakes, it’s hard to imagine that God is still caring for us. Peter knows that even in mistakes, Jesus will come to you and reinstate you, that even when we don’t know what is going to happen, God is still caring for us!
And so we have these surprising instructions: Add to your faith… Why is this a surprise? Because of verses 3,4!
- God Has Given Us All that We Need for a Godly Life!
- The knowledge of Him
When we know what God is like, we know what we are to be like. Ignorance is no gift. And emulating God is where we can live confidently. Often times there are choices that we must make that we are not sure of.
- The knowledge of what He will do
“Great and precious promises”
There are many promises in the Bible. (3573?) What is a promise? It is a statement from God about what He will do.
Let’s just take one promise up for our purposes today:
28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
- We participate in the divine nature
“Learn from me…”
“Work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who is at work within you both to will and to do His good pleasure.”
14 We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. 15 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16 And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17 As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. 18 For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature.[c] For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.
21 So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22 For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; 23 but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. 24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? 25 Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!
- We escape the dying world and evil desires
4 You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. 5 Or do you think Scripture says without reason that he jealously longs for the spirit he has caused to dwell in us?
Galatians 5: 16 So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever[c] you want.
We might think that because we have all that we need, we let God do the work, but we see instead that…
- Because We Have All We Need, We Work
- Adding things to our faith
Make an effort to add things to your faith.
Every person is made up of different aspects. We are have a mind, a will, emotions, a physical self and a spiritual self. And we have a corporate identity as well.
Grow in goodness: spiritual self
Grow in knowledge: mind
Grow in love: emotion
Grow in self-control: physical
Grow in perseverance: will
Grow in Godliness: spiritual self
Grow in Mutual affection: Corporate identity
- Building up positive character qualities
This list reads like the fruit of the spirit!
Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness and self-control
And the end result of this pursuit of character qualities is that
- We gain effectiveness and productivity v.8
8 For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins.
Again, Ephesians 4 told us we were growing in our confidence in God, in the truth, and in love so that we are His true partners in ministry!
III. Spiritual Disciplines are a Means to Do This
Again, we are adding Godly character to our faith:
Goodness: In what area?
Knowledge: In what area?
Self-Control: In what area?
Perseverance: In what area?
Godliness: In what area?
Mutual affection: In what area?
Love: In what area?
How? By practicing!
The Big Three in New Testament Times:
Disciplines of Engagement, outward, service oriented
When you give
Do so in secret, not to be noticed or praised by others. The secrecy connects the action to faith. The giving guards us against greed and materialism!
God will reward your giving! What do you want from Him?
- Prayer: Disciplines of Engagement, inward
When you pray
Pray in secret. Avoid doing any good behavior to be praised by people! If we act in such a manner so that we might be honored by others, then we miss God’s work in our lives.
Prayer connects us to God personally, His plans and purposes. It shows us our dependence upon Him. It guards us against pride!
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds!
Prayer, Study (In all of its various forms), Worship, Thanksgiving,
- Fasting: Disciplines of Abstinence
When you fast
Fasting without clamoring for the attention for others will bring us face to face with our strong desire for food. God promises to reward our fasting, and I believe that reward will be the development of self-control. We will gain greater mastery over our sensual nature.
Solitude, Silence, Fasting, Simplicity, Secrecy, Sacrifice
Each of these three disciplines are not to be done to impress others with our self-discipline. They are to be done to experience the power of God in over our weaknesses. We are adding character to our faith!
Matt 11: Take my yoke upon you and learn of me!