Prayer Meeting/Bible Study – Thursday, July 5, 2012
Lighthouse Independent Baptist Church
For If These Things
II Peter 1:1-15
One of the things that is a constant in the Word of God is that of the growth cycle of the Christian. That is that when we first get saved, we start out as newborn babes in Christ but we ought not to stay that way, rather we should progress further on into the Christian life. We should be further along as a Christian today than when we first were saved. In a year’s time, we should be further along as a Christian than we are today. Continue growing and going, spiritually showing signs of what Christ has done in our lives, bearing fruit for our Lord.
Yet it seems that for some Christians getting saved was the end for them. They never grow, they go, they never mature, and they never get past being that newborn babe in Christ. And they’re okay with it! But folks, as Christians we are not to be content with just getting saved and calling it a day! We should not be content to just say, well I’m saved, that’s it, and it’s all over! No, folks, getting saved is not the end but rather just the beginning.
Here in our text tonight, we see that the Apostle Peter reminds us of the need to be continually involved in the growth cycle. To keep growing as a Christian, to keep going as a Christian, to keep maturing as a Christian, and to keep bearing fruit for our Lord as a Christian! He shows us what we must do in order to keep growing, going, maturing, and bearing fruit but he also shows us what happens if we don’t keep ourselves involved in growing.
II Peter 1:1-15
I want you to notice verse 8, the first part, “For if these things”. For a few moments here tonight, that’s the phrase I want us to focus on, for if these things. Starting in verse 5, Peter tells us to “add” seven spiritual characteristics to our already present faith. These are the “these things” that Peter is talking about. Look with me at verses 5-7 and these seven characteristics.
II Peter 1:5-7
– The first spiritual trait to be added is Virtue which means piety, goodness of life, or moral excellence. It may also be spiritual courage before a hostile world, the strength to stand for what is right. As a Christian, it’s important to stand for what is right even when it seems like you’re the only one standing for it.
– The next spiritual attribute to be added is Knowledge which not only means knowledge in general (though there is nothing wrong with that), but rather knowledge of the things of God. The knowledge of spiritual truth. Listen, if you know more about sports stats, movies, music, education, history, and whatever else you can think of more than you know about the things of God, there’s something wrong! Seek to know all you can about God and the things of God!
– Then we are to add to our faith Temperance which means having some self-control. Self-control over our appetites, emotions, flesh, attitudes, feelings, and desires. Self-control to do as we ought rather than what we want. This characteristic also helps us to say no to all the harmful habits and sins that the unsaved are heartedly saying yes to.
– Then we are to add to our faith Patience which means patiently sticking to what we ought to do. Being steadfast, persevering, and faithful.
– Then we are directed to add Godliness to our faith. Genuine Christianity. There are many who are outwardly religious. But godliness speaks of genuine godly character. It might be the opposite of those who merely have a form of godliness. God, the characteristics of God, and the things of God are evident your life. As Christians we are to live in the power of God, the way of God, and the goodness of God.
– Next, we are instructed to add to our faith Brotherly Kindness. It speaks of the kindness and love Christians ought to have one toward another. This action identifies us as Disciples of Christ – John 13:35 “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one for another”. God’s people should love God’s people. We should practice putting other believers above ourselves.
– Finally, Peter directs for God’s people to add Charity to their faith. The word here for charity is translated agape which is the common Bible word for love. It has the idea of ‘a giving of one’s self for another.’ In genuine love, the focus is on the other and not on ourselves. It is others-oriented and not self-oriented. It is a giving of ourselves for the good, happiness, and benefit of the other. Love for all of mankind. If we can begin with a selfless love for each other, we will naturally transfer that love to all people. This love is manifested in the ultimate desire in seeing people saved.
As Christians, we must seek daily to add these things to our lives! But what about the Christian who is not adding these virtues to their life? Well, for that Christian, they can expect suffer subtraction in their life. We see in verses 8-9 what happens. Look at them with me.
II Peter 1:8-9
– If these things are not present we will be Barren. We will be idle or unproductive. We will be an unproductive Christian in serving the Lord.
– If these things are not present we will be unfruitful. Because of our lack of knowledge in the Lord, we will not bear the fruit that we ought to be bearing. It’s that simple. Knowing that, the question could be asked; how much fruit are we bearing for Jesus Christ? If it is slim, then we need to examine ourselves and see where we are lacking in the preceding seven qualities. Verses 5-7 hold major keys to why some are productive in God’s work and some are not. And all seven of these things are important.
– If these things are not present we are blind, and cannot see afar off. The thought here is of being spiritually blind. Because we lack these traits in our Christian life, we lack spiritual discernment! We’re spiritually myopic, near-sighted, and oblivious to what is coming ahead. We can easily be lead astray into things we should not be involved in! And this leads us into the final aspect of what happens to the Christian who lacks these things.
– If these things are not present we forget that we’re even saved. When we lack these spiritual qualities, we will (on a practical level) forget that we are saved and tend to live like the world. We’ve lost the savor of our salvation, we’ve left our first love when we fail to have these things present in our Christian lives! These qualities are therefore crucial to the Christian life!
So we come to the close, Peter’s challenge, encouragement, and promise to those Christians who seek to have these things present in their lives. Look at verse 10 with me as we prepare to close.
II Peter 1:10
The challenge Peter gives is in the first part of this verse and that is give diligence to make your calling and election sure. In other words, be diligent to make your salvation experience stable in day-to-day living. And you do that by developing these seven spiritual qualities in your lives.
And if we do that, we than have the promise in the second half of verse 10 and that is for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall. In other words, ye shall never be barren, ye shall be fruitful, ye shall have spiritual discernment, and ye shall never forget that you’re saved, a Child of the King!
Here is a secret to the Christian life. As we develop these spiritual traits in our lives, they will keep us from falling into sin. That’s a promise from the very Word of God! All we have to do is these things! Virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness, and charity (love). As Christians, let’s seek to do these things!