The First Principles of the Oracles of God
Growing in Grace – Sermon Notes
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To rightly examine the Grace Virtues it’s helpful to understand the purpose of the book of Second Peter. Peter wrote this book in about the last year of his life knowing he was going to die as Jesus had told him (2 Pet 1:14). In this book, Peter covers three main teachings, to grow in the Grace of God, to be aware of false prophets & teachings and finally concerning the end days. He wrote of the importance of continuing to grow and look toward the Coming of Christ.
(2 Pet 1:3-5) “…according to his divine power he has given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through him that has called us unto glory and virtue. Whereby are given unto us exceedingly great and precious promises: that BY THESE you might be PARTAKERS OF THE DIVINE NATURE…and besides this, giving all diligence add to your faith…”
What Peter was saying was this; be not satisfied with salvation alone but go on to grow in all diligence.
DILIGENCE – (spoo-day) speed, eagerness, earnestness…
Before we go on to examine the Grace Virtues we are to first re-apply some earlier teachings to avoid error.
(John 15:4) “…abide in me and I in you. As the branch CANNOT bear fruit of itself, except you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He that abides in me and I in him, the same bring forth much fruit, for without me you can do nothing…”
Jesus reminds us of the importance of abiding in him to grow. Through actively participating with the Holy Spirit willingly; the fruitfulness of the branch depends entirely upon the relationship with the vine. In addition to this we re-apply the teachings of Grace, we are no longer under that old law but under the divine favor of God in heaven.
The Grace Virtues
1. “…add to your faith virtue…” (ar-et-ay – valour, eagerness, energy) For us to apply whatever firmness or courage may be necessary for maintaining growth and life as a Christian. The term virtue is not a passive word but requires active participation.
2. “…and virtue knowledge…” (gno-sis – knowledge, science) The knowledge here differs from that of our relationship with Christ. Here it refers to us mastering teachings and doctrines, endeavoring with the Holy Spirit to attain the highest knowledge of God.
3. “…and to knowledge self-control…” (en-krat-i-ah – temperance, balance) Rightly meaning self-control, the word here refers to us mastering our own inclinations toward sin and unfruitful appetites.
4. “…and to temperance patience…” (hoop-om-on-ay – endurance) Through the power and the leading of the Holy Spirit, we cultivate endurance that we may stand and grow as Christians.
5. “…and to patience godliness…” (yoo-seb-iah – piety) Endeavouring as a Christian to be more godly in character in thought, word, and deed.
6. “…and to godliness brotherly kindness…” (fil-ad-el-fee-ah – fraternal affection) Meaning to seek, as Christians, to be kind to all men especially those of the house of God.
7. “…and to brotherly kindness Charity…” (ag-ah-pay – selfless love) Putting others before ourselves, displaying through the power of the Spirit a selfless love to all men.
None of the above virtues can be attained purely by human effort but must be followed through the power of the Spirit. God’s greatest desire for a Christian is to grow in the character of Christ so God may live his life through the believer. Peter goes on to show the results of growing and not growing as a Christian.
(2 Pet 1:8) “…for IF these things be in you and abound, they will make you that you shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ…”
(2 Pet 1:9) “…but he that lacks these things is blind and cannot see afar off, and has forgotten that he was purged from his old sins…”
Few things could be clearer than the above; grow and be fruitful, don’t grow and be unfruitful.
(2 Pet 1:10) “…giving all diligence to make your calling and election sure (like an anchor) FOR IF YOU DO THESE THINGS YOU SHALL NEVER FALL…”
The Great Promises
Verse 3: “…exceedingly great and precious promises that pertain unto life and godliness…” All things are available to us to experience abundant life.
Verse 4: “…that by these (promises), you may be partakers of the divine nature…” All things are available to us to experience his divine nature.
Verse 8: “…you shall neither be barren nor unfruitful…” Through growing as a Christian, the supply from heaven shall be abundant.
Verse 10: “…for IF you do these things you shall never fall…” A promise from God that he will uphold and supply every need.
Verse 11: “…for so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the Everlasting Kingdom…” The promise here is if we diligently grow God will make us experience the Kingdom of Heaven here on earth.
God is a God who meets people where they are, wherever they stay and in the circumstances they find themselves in. Christian individuals are completely unique in that no-one walks in the same sphere or circumstances they do. Everyone’s day is different and God chooses to work and live in all these spheres.
Examples: Most have these three main spheres they live and operate in.
Home life – close family and friends, leisure time etc.
Church life – assembling ourselves together with other believers
Work life – any kind of work and labour etc.
God uses all of these spheres to exercise the believer to bring them closer to him and more like Christ.
(Ephesians 5:22) “…wives submit yourselves unto your own husbands as unto the Lord…husbands love your wives even as Christ loved the church…”
(Hebrews 13:17) “…obey them that have the rule (church overseers) over you and submit yourselves…”
(1 Pet 2:18) “…servants be subject to your own masters (in the world) with all fear (respect), not only to the good and gentle but also to the forward…”
Even just these three examples present us with challenges and opportunities for God to help us grow.
Again though “…you can do nothing of yourselves…”
(Pet 4:12) “…beloved think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing has happened to you but rejoice…”
Peter’s advice was the same at the end as it was at the start of growing in the Grace of God. (2 Pet 3:18) “…but grow in Grace and in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ…”
So how, in a nutshell – just live, don’t strive, enjoy the favor and the riches of God. JUST LIVE in the freedom God has bought for us.