God's Provision for Practical Christian Growth - Part 1

Bible Book: 2 Peter  1 : 1-4
Subject: Growth in Christ; Christian Living; Discipleship
Series: Shoe Leather Christianity
Introduction

1 Peter was written to help suffering Christians. 2 Peter was written to expose false teachers. 1 Peter, ministering especially to suffering Christians, focuses on the intimacy of Christ as a means of encouraging the Christians.

2 Peter, dealing with scoffers, emphasizes the reasons why that imminent return of Christ has not yet occurred. 1 Peter deals with the resurrection of Christ, while 2 Peter deals with the transfiguration of Christ.

2 Peter is an almost last will and testament (1:13-15), written to warn the beloved believers in Christ about the doctrinal dangers they were facing. This letter was probably written from a Roman jail in about 67-68 A.D., just before the death of Nero, remembering that Peter probably died in Nero’s persecution. (Nero died A.D. 68). Therefore,

2 Peter was written for the purpose of exposing, thwarting, and defeating the invasion of false teachers into the church. It has been said that

2 Peter stands second only to Jude in being so graphic in exposing false teachers. Warren Wiersbe said, “the best way to detect falsehood is to understand the characteristics of the truth.”

In a general characterization of false teachers, Peter informs that they:

Teach destructive heresies
Deny Christ and twist the Scriptures
Bring true faith into disrepute
Mock the Second Coming of Christ
Display immoral character

As a result, Peter describes them in more detail, then he describes their doctrines. Wickedness is not the product of sound doctrine, but of destructive heresies. (2:1) Peter moves in his message to motivate his readers to continue to develop their Christian character. (1:5-11) He explains wonderfully how a believer can have assurance of his salvation, as well as what has robbed believers of their certainty. One of the major recurring themes is the importance of knowledge. We see it used 16 times in 3 chapters. It is not too much to say that Peter’s primary solution to false teaching is knowledge of true doctrine. Throughout today we will notice the:

Faith – that leads to a Personal Relationship with Christ

Growth – that comes as a result of a Powerful Resolution

Results – that simply develop as Practical Results

I. THE WRITINGS OF THE DEVOTED PENMAN.  Verse 1

The double name recalls the two-fold aspect of the Apostle’s life.

A. HIS NAME FOR CIRCUMCISION.

“Simon” – given to him at birth following his circumcision; unstable, undependable. Reminded him of his past.

B. HIS NAME FROM CONVERSION.

“Peter” – given to him at his rebirth following his conversion; rock-like nature and character.

GREAT QUESTION: - Is there an “old” and a “new” to your life?

GREAT TRUTH: Conversion is instantaneous-transformation is gradual.

1. His Surrender Position.

“bondservant” – speaks of humility; as a servant, he was on equal basis with other Christians; an obedient slave of Christ.

2. His Special Position.

“apostle” – speaks of authority; Peter was one of a unique group of men who were personally called and commissioned by Christ. He was an eyewitness of the resurrection of Christ. Not all of Christ’s followers are called to be apostles, but all are called to be servants.

a. Peter recognized his position in Him.

“I have been saved.”

b. Peter recognized his obligation to Him.

“I am to serve.”

II. THE WORKING OF THE DESCRIBED PERSON. Verse 1

A. SPEAKS OF RELATIONSHIP.

“those who have obtained” – (received); not attained; a gift cannot be purchased or earned, it can only be received. Here Peter is emphasizing that salvation was not attained by personal effort, skill, or worthiness, but came purely from God’s grace.
John 1:12-13
“But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”

v.12 – The second phrase describes the first. To receive Him Who is the Word of God means to acknowledge His claims, place one’s faith in Him, and thereby yield allegiance to Him.

“gave” – emphasizes the grace of God involved in the gift of salvation.

“the right” (authority); those who receive Jesus, the Word, receives full authority to claim the exalted title of “God’s children.”

“His name” – denotes the character of the person himself.

v.13 “of God” – the divine side of salvation; ultimately it is not a man’s will that produces salvation, but God’s will.

“like precious faith” – was used to designate equal in rank, position, honor, standing, price, or value. It was used in the ancient world with strangers and foreigners who were given equal citizenship in a city. Here, Peter was emphasizing that Christians have all received the same precious, priceless saving faith. There are not first or second-class Christians in spiritual, racial, or gender distinctions. Since Peter was writing to mostly Gentiles, he may have been emphasizing that they have received the same faith as the Jews.

“faith” – Peter is speaking of a subjective faith; for example, the Christian’s power to believe for his salvation. Faith is the capacity to believe (Eph. 2:8-9). Even though faith and belief express the human side of salvation, God still must grant that faith. God initiates faith when the Holy Spirit awakens the dead soul in response to hearing the Word of God.

B. SPEAKS OF RIGHTEOUSNESS.

“by the righteousness” – Peter’s point is that believers share the equal gift of salvation because God’s righteousness is imputed to them. That righteousness recognizes no distinction between people except that the sins of some are more heinous than others. So, not only do they have faith because God gives it to them, they are saved only because God imputes righteousness to them.

Titus 3:5: “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit.”

Romans 4:5: “But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness.”

2 Corinthians 5:21: “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”

C. SPEAKS OF REDEMPTION AND THE REDEEMER.

“Of our God and Savior Jesus Christ” – only one article making the entire phrase refer to the same person. Peter is identifying Jesus Christ as both Savior and God. As Savior, He brings salvation; means deliverer from trouble; carried idea of health and safety.

Salvation was a familiar word of that day:

1. A physician was looked on as a savior because he helped deliver the body from pain and limitations.

2. A victorious general was a savior because he delivered the people from defeat.

3. A wise official was a savior because he kept the nation in order and delivered it from confusion and decay.

Jesus Christ is Savior:

He is the Great Physician who heals the heart from the sickness of sin.

He is the victorious conqueror who has defeated our enemies: sin, death, Satan, and hell.

He is our Savior in that He gave His life on the cross and died for the sins of the world.

III. THE WEALTH OF HIS POWER. Verses 2-3

A. ENABLES US TO GROW. 2

“Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.”

“multiplied” – suggests constant growth unto the fullness of the blessing of Christ.

“knowledge” – word does not mean a mere intellectual understanding of some truth, though that is included. It means a living participation in the truth in the sense that our Lord used in John 17:3.

John 17:3: “And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.”

“knowledge”- implying a larger, more thorough, and intimate knowledge. The Christian’s precious faith is built on knowing the truth about God. Christianity is not a mystical religion, but is based in objective, historical, revealed, rational truth from God and intended to be understood and believed. The deeper and wider that knowledge of the Lord, the more grace and peace are multiplied.

It is through experience and intimacy that these (grace and peace) are multiplied.

Grace is God’s favor to the undeserving. God, in His mercy, does not give us what we do deserve; God, in His grace, gives us what we don’t deserve. The results of this experience is “peace.”

Peace with God!

Romans 5:1: “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Peace of God!

Philippians 4:6-7: “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

God’s grace and peace are “multiplied” toward us as we walk with Him and trust His promises.

B. ENERGIZES US WITH LIFE. 3

“His” – refers to Jesus Christ. Christ’s power is the source of the believer’s sufficiency and perseverance. When you know Jesus Christ personally, you also experience God’s power - “has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness”

The genuine Christian is eternally secure in his salvation and will persevere and grow because he has received everything necessary to sustain eternal life through Christ’s power. Just as a normal baby is born with all the equipment he needs for life and only needs to grow, so the Christian has all that is needed and only needs to grow.

Col. 2:10: “And you are complete in Him.”

“life” (zoe); God’s quality of life produced by divine power. The power Christ has provided should be received and utilized. Believers are not hired servants supporting themselves by their own works, but children maintained at their Father’s expense.

C. ENDOWS US WITH GODLINESS. 3

To be godly is to live reverently, loyally, and obediently toward God. Peter means that the genuine believer ought not to ask God for something more (as if something necessary to sustain his growth, strength, and perseverance was missing) to become godly, because he already has every spiritual resource to manifest, sustain, and perfect godly living.

“through the knowledge of Him” – an intimate knowledge. Not a mere surface awareness of the facts about Christ, but a genuine, personal sharing of life with Christ, based on repentance from sin and personal faith in Him.

D. EXALTS GOD’S GLORY AND GOODNESS. 3

“who called us by glory and virtue” – this saving call is based on the sinner’s understanding of Christ’s revealed majesty and moral excellence evidencing that He is Lord and Savior. This implies that there must be a clear presentation of Christ’s person and work as the God-man in evangelism, which attracts men to salvation.

The “glory” of Christ is that demonstration of the divine character that causes the love and worship of men.

“virtue” – goodness, moral excellence, qualities demonstrated in concrete deeds.

These twin traits become the means of attracting outsiders to the Savior.

The person of Jesus Christ attracts men and His power enables them to respond.

The cross and resurrection most clearly reveal His glory and virtue.

IV. THE WITNESS OF THE DIVINE PROMISES. Verse 4

A. THE PROMISES.

God has not only given us all that we need for life and godliness, but He has also given us His Word to enable us to develop His life and godliness. These promises are great because they come from a great

God and they lead to a great life. They are precious because their value is beyond calculation.

These promises are those of abundant life and eternal life.

B. THE PURPOSE.

“that through these you may be partakers of divine nature” – when the sinner believes on Jesus Christ, the Spirit of God uses the Word of God to impart the life and nature of God within. A baby shares the nature of its parents, and a person born of God shares the divine nature of God.

The lost sinner is dead, but the Christian is alive because he shares the divine nature.

GREAT TRUTHS

1. Nature determines appetite

Converted – 1 Peter 2:2 “As newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby.”

Counterfeit –2 Peter 2:22 “But it has happened to them according to the true proverb: "A dog returns to his own vomit," and, "a sow, having washed, to her wallowing in the mire."

2. Nature determines behavior

An eagle flies because it has an eagle’s nature.

A dolphin swims because it has the nature of the dolphin

3. Nature determines environment

Squirrels climb trees

Trout swim in the water

4. Nature determines association

Lions travel in prides

Sheep in flocks

If nature determines appetite, and we have God’s nature within, then we ought to have an appetite for that which is pure and holy.

The only normal, fruit-bearing life for the child of God is a godly life.

C. PROVISION.

“having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.”

“corruption” – idea of something decomposing or decaying

“escaped” – depicts a successful flight from danger. At the time of salvation, the believer escapes from the power which the rottenness in the world has over him through his fallen, sinful nature.

Because we possess this divine nature, we have “completely escaped” the defilement and decay in this present evil world. If we feed the new nature the nourishment of the Word, then we will have little interest the garbage of the world.

But if we “make provision for the flesh” (Romans 13:14), our sinful nature will lust after the “old sins” (2 peter 1:9) and we will disobey God. Godly living is the result of cultivating the new nature within.