Growing in Grace
1. You Have All You Need
2 Peter 1: 1 - 4
Some things look pretty and they taste good…but they’re not so good for you. They’re sweet but have no substance. Peter wants to make sure we’re putting the right things in us so that we can grow. 4 reasons I chose this book and this theme –
1. It will help us grow in our faith.
3: 18: “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”
2. We’ll be equipped to deal with error. As we get closer to the return of Christ, we need to be aware that error and false teaching will only accelerate.
2: 1: “But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies…”
3. We’ll savour the return of Jesus Christ. Since we are living in the last days we need to be ready for His return and motivated to share our faith with as many as we can. 3: 3, 4, 10: “That scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, and saying, ‘Where is the promise of His coming?’…But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night…”
4. We’ll be encouraged to persevere. Peter warns us against falling away. 3: 17: “You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked.”
Peter is very concerned that believers hold on to that which is true. A second generation of believers has lost their spiritual passion. Peter’s purpose is to remind these Christ-followers that the gospel transforms lives, that discipleship involves discipline and that spiritual growth is intentional, not automatic.
This opening passage challenges us in 3 ways -
1. Know Who You Are v. 1a
In the 1st century letters began with the name and qualifications of the person who was sending the letter. Peter is describing himself with a couple names and a couple titles because he knew who he was. By looking at each of them carefully, we can learn who we are as well.
The name Simon was his given name. He knows that he’s still “Simple Simon” who was always putting his foot in his mouth. Simon was what Jesus called him when he was being sinful or selfish. Luke 22: 31, 32: “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.” We have not arrived yet, have we? It’s important to admit that we still sin.
But Peter is more than just a sinner and if you’re a Christ-follower, so are you. You are also a saint. After hearing Simon the Sinner profess that Jesus was the “Christ, the Son of the Living God,” Jesus said this about him - Matthew 16: 18: “And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church.” Aren’t we all a bit like this? Sometimes we slide into our sinful side even as we strive to live out our position as saints.
If Simon Peter is his name, servant is his fame. Actually, the word is “bondservant,” which is the most specific Greek term for a slave and means one who serves without regard for his personal interests. The servant was completely and unquestionably bound to the will and pleasure of the master.
I love how Simon Peter sees himself as a servant before calling himself an “apostle” - means an officially commissioned messenger or one “who is sent forth from.” When attached to the phrase “of Jesus Christ” we know in a real sense you and are I are the Saviour’s sent ones. We’ve been called to gather, to grow, to give and to go with the gospel message. Because we’ve been told to go, we’re to live as ones who are sent.
Peter knew who he was. Do you know who you are? If you’ve been saved, you’re a sinner, a saint, a servant and one who has been sent with the gospel message. It’s good to know who you are and secondly, it’s important to know where you stand with God.
2. Know Where You Stand v. 1b
A. You have obtained faith
Did you know that even your faith is a gift from God? It’s a “like” faith, meaning that we have it in common with all Christians, all over the world. We have no more or no less than any other Christian from any other country or culture. Because we have Christ in common, we have all things in common.
Our common faith is extremely “precious,” which means especially dear and highly valuable. Peter actually loves the word precious, using it 2X in this passage and 6X in his first letter.
B. You have imputed righteousness.
God is righteous and by nature, we are not. Lock in for a few moments because if you get what I’m about to say, you will never be the same. The word imputed means to have something credited or deposited to one’s account. When Adam sinned, Romans 5: 12 says that his sin was imputed to every one of us: “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned.”
When Jesus died on the cross, all the sins of the world were imputed to Him - 1 Peter 2: 24: “Who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree.” Now, here’s the really amazing part. When you trust Christ and are saved by Him, His righteousness is imputed, or deposited, to your account! We see that in Romans 4: 5: “But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness.”
When you are saved, your sins are not only forgiven and you’re given eternal life, but something even more takes place. The very righteousness of Jesus Christ is credited to your account. If you know Him through the new birth, you have been declared righteous because you are now in a right standing with Him.
C. You have multiplied grace and peace. v. 2
The word grace means gift. It refers to God’s free and unmerited favor poured out on people just like you and me. Because of our sins, we are at war with God and therefore enemies with Him. It’s only through the shed blood of Christ and our response to His grace that we can be made at peace with Him.
Peter wants us to know that grace and peace can be “multiplied” to us, which means “to greatly increase” or to be taken to its “maximum measure.” We must know who we are and where we stand and finally we must know what we’re to do.
3. Know What to Do.
It’s good to know our position in Christ, but we must live it out in practice. There are three ways we can do that.
A. Unleash God’s power. v. 3
“All things” means all things! You and I already have everything we need to live life and everything we need to grow in godliness. You don’t need another book or blessing or seminar or experience if you know Jesus. You have all that you need right now to be all God wants you to be. Romans 8: 32: “He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?” When you were saved you were given all of the Holy Spirit and at least one spiritual gift was downloaded into you. While you might not have everything you want you already have everything you need.
B. Utilize God’s promises. v. 4a
God’s promises are exceedingly great and they are precious. Putting these 2 words together we could say that God’s promises are mega magnificent! John Bunyan, who spent much of his life in prison for his faith, wrote these words: “The pathway of life is strewn so thickly with the promises of God that it is impossible to take one step without treading upon one of them.” Aren’t you glad that God keeps all His promises? Psalm 145: 13: “The LORD is faithful to all his promises and loving toward all he has made.” Are you utilizing those promises?
C. Undertake God’s partnership. v. 4b
When we unleash God’s power and utilize His promises we are able to partner with Him in amazing ways. We are able to share in what God is doing and we’re able to escape the gross stuff that seeks to overpower us.
If we don’t escape the corruption that is in the world through lust, our own sins will consume us. Aren’t you glad that God has made a way of escape?
So here are some questions.
Do you know who you are? You are a sinner, a saint, a servant and a sent one.
Do you know where you stand? You have obtained faith, you have imputed righteousness and you’ve had grace and peace multiplied to you.
Do you know what to do? Unleash God’s power, utilize God’s promises and undertake God’s partnership.
I don’t want to spend my remaining days serving up pretty parcels that are sweet but have no substance. I want to stand for Christ and against the flow of anti-Christian sentiment in our society. I will continue to preach the full counsel of God’s Word without compromise.
“The Fellowship of the Unashamed.”
“I’m a part of the fellowship of the unashamed. The die has been cast. I have stepped over the line. The decision has been made. I’m a disciple of His and I won’t look back, let up, slow down, back away, or be still. My past is redeemed. My present makes sense. My future is secure. I no longer need preeminence, prosperity, position, promotions, plaudits, or popularity.
I don’t have to be right, or first, or tops, or recognized, or praised, or rewarded. I live by faith, lean on His presence, walk by patience, lift by prayer, and labor by Holy Spirit power. My face is set. My goal is heaven. My road may be narrow, my way rough, my companions few, but my guide is reliable and my mission is clear. I will not be bought, compromised, detoured, lured away, turned back, deluded or delayed. I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice or hesitate in the presence of the adversary. I will not negotiate at the table of the enemy, ponder at the pool of popularity, or meander in the maze of mediocrity.
I won’t give up, shut up, or let up until I have stayed up, stored up, prayed up, paid up, and preached up for the cause of Christ. I am a disciple of Jesus. I must give until I drop, preach until all know, and work until He comes. And when He does come for His own, He’ll have no problems recognizing me. My colours will be clear!”
Reminds me of the words of Martin Luther: “Here I stand, I can do no other, so help me God. Amen.”
Who’s with me? Who’s ready to stand for Christ, no matter what happens? If so, would you please indicate your commitment by standing right now? The Stand