Sermon Notes: New Year’s Day: 2 Peter 1:3-11

January 1, 2023: Grow your faith.

We said in November we wanted to continue our theme of maturity and add to that theme by learning to wait on the Lord. 

Waiting on the Lord is not passive. Waiting on the Lord is an active pursuit of Jesus’ kingdom and his righteousness and trusting him to work his good outcomes for his glory and our good. 

One of the ways we will learn to wait on the Lord is by growing our faith. 

In 2023 we want to grow our faith together as we preach God’s word by studying some basic Christian theology and beginning a study through the book of Exodus. 

The whole Bible preaches the gospel and reveals who God is, who we are, and what God’s mission is, and we will get to explore it all in Exodus together. 

This morning we want to set our heading for this journey with 2 Peter 1:3-11 to grow up into maturity through waiting on the Lord by growing our faith. 

2 Peter 1:3-11 Let’s read it together. 

Our Scripture has 4 verbs in it. These verbs make a central point clear: Peter wants us to supplement, increase, and grow our faith and make every effort to do so. 

The question is: how are we going to grow our faith? What does Peter teach us that will grow our faith?

  1. Grow your faith by receiving God’s gifts. V. 3-4
    1. Peter sets up verse 3 with his greeting in verse 2 which is loaded with glorious realities for us.
      1. Our faith is equal to his and the other apostles because of Jesus’ righteousness for us that is imputed to us in salvation. V. 1. 
      2. Peter speaks rich blessings over God’s people that come from God to us in grace and peace multiplied through our KNOWLEDGE OF GOD AND THE LORD JESUS. (This deserves a sermon by itself.)
        1. Now in verse 3, Peter tells us that we have some gifts from God. 
        2. So, what gifts do we have?
          1. Before he tells us what we have, he tells us HOW we have these gifts.
            1. God’s divine power is at work for us to give us everything we need for LIFE and GODLINESS. V. 3a
          2. Pause:
            1. God’s divine power is at work for us. 
            2. God’s divine power gives us everything we need.
              1. There are NO spiritually impoverished repentant followers of Jesus. 
          3. So, what do we have by God’s power to give us everything we need?
            1. God’s divine power has given us everything for life.
              1. Life “zoe”, is our entire being upheld for health and good.
                1. We have everything we need to pursue a life that looks like a fully restored humanity.
                  1. The question before us is: will we be disciplined enough to grasp it? 
                  2. Physical health.
                  3. Emotional and mental health.
                  4. Relational health with appropriate boundaries with the right people.
            2. God’s divine power has given us everything for godliness.
              1. Godliness “eusebia”, is translated as “godliness” in the NT, and yet the name “God” is not part of the name.
                1. The reason is that this word communicates an externalized piety toward God that matches the moral excellence of God. 
              2. We have been given everything we need to act like, look like, and smell like the God who has called us to be daughters and sons by faith in Jesus as acts of worship back to the one we are acting like. 
        3. How did we get these precious gifts everything to life and godliness?
          1. God called us to himself. 
          2. God has shown us his glory.
            1. When God reveals himself to someone in the Old Testament, like Ezekiel, they describe the scene as God’s glory, and it does a work in them that they never get over. 
            2. When God shows us the glory of Jesus in the gospel, we can’t just get over that. 
          3. God has shown us his goodness.
            1. The NASB translates this as “excellence”.
              1. The idea is God’s moral superiority and excellence that Peter says in 2:9 is the basis of our proclaiming in the worship of God. 
            2. God’s goodness has been a means by which we have been given these precious gifts. 
  1. Grow your faith with every effort. V. 5-7
    1. The word “supplement” is such a rich word, and it sounds clunky, so we are going to say “grow”, so let’s define what Peter means here.
      1. “Supplement “is the main verb and it is imperative, and it is modified further with “make every effort” which is a participle.
        1. So, we are commanded to supplement our faith with every good effort.
          1. Saving faith is God’s gift to us (Ephesians 2:1-10). 
          2. What we do with our saving faith is a matter of stewardship in walking in the good work God has given us to do in the gift of saving faith he has granted us (Ephesians 2:10). 
        2. Know, you did not save yourself by generating faith. Saving faith was given.
          1. As the Lord taught us in the parable of the talents, the Master gave the talents, and the servant’s task was to put those talents to work and give account for that labor when the master returned. 
          2. We have been saved by grace through faith and this is God’s gift so we can’t boast in our saving.
            1. And, now that we have been saved, given eyes to see, and received everything we need for life and godliness, we have to put these precious resources to work. 
            2. Remember: THE INDICATIVE COMES BEFORE THE IMPERATIVE: We have been given salvation and made God’s children, and now we get to go learn how to look like God’s children.
          3. What good efforts are we to use to grow our faith?
          4. NOTE: Peter uses a literary device known as a “sorites” and it serves as a chain of thoughts intended to lead to a climatic end. 
          5. It is doubtful that these 8 virtues are exhaustive and that each is a prerequisite for the other.
            1. For example: if I’m struggling in faith I can’t be good. That’s not what Peter is saying. 
          6. These virtues are what Peter recommends for his disciples in this particular setting and are placed in a literary structure intended to help them understand and grow. 
            1. Faith – take God at his word.
              1. Mark 9:24 (CSB) Immediately the father of the boy cried out, “I do believe; help my unbelief!”
                1. Fight against the external or internal force that robs you of peace and joy and trust in God.
                  1. 1 Thessalonians 3:5 reminds us that Satan targets faith, so don’t be surprised if your faith feels like it’s under constant attack, because it likely is under constant attack. 
            2. Goodness – moral excellence.
              1. Strive for the character traits and actions that please God.
                1. You can mine these from the Bible quite easily.
                  1. Start with the 10 commandments. 
            3. Knowledge – know God and his word.
              1. In all our desire to obey God, let’s not bypass knowing God and what he wants us to know, which is found in all of creation and his word.
                1. Let’s know and act. 
                2. BOTH/AND.
            4. Self-control – the practice of the fruit of the Holy Spirit in controlling our minds and bodies. 
            5. Endurance – staying the course and not giving up the faith.
              1. This is not endurance in chosen activities that are not helping or creating bad and unhealthy results.
                1. Endurance for endurance sake in things that are of no eternal consequence is not what Peter has in mind.
                  1. He’s talking about Hebrews 10 like staying the course of the faith. 
            6. Godliness – acting like God in all appropriate ways based on need and setting.
              1. Read the prophets and filter them through the gospel.
                1. There are times God acts in ways that if people read the Bible would call God, ungodly. 
                2. That’s because in ignorance we can create ethical frameworks divorced from the Bible then call them Christian and then hate people who actually obey God and act like God.
                3. God through his word defines godliness.
            7. Brotherly affection – friendship, kindness, goodwill. 
            8. Love – intentional commitment to each other’s good as God defines good. 
    2. Making “Every effort” to cultivate these virtues is Peter’s way of saying we are to strive toward them.
      1. We don’t earn our salvation.
      2. We do grow our faith by striving toward acting in a manner worthy of Jesus.
        1. If you want great living faith, you will have to strive for it and exercise it. 
  1. Every effort in virtuous living is a means to grow our faith and display we are truly transformed followers of Jesus AND will keep us from being useless and unfruitful in our knowledge of God. V. 8-11
    1. Peter’s words sting a little bit because it seems it’s possible to be useless and unfruitful.
      1. What does Peter mean?
        1. We are to possess faith-growing virtues in increasing measure. V. 8
          1. We are saved by grace and are to grow up (this is the increasing measure) into Christ NOT live in a stagnant state. 
          2. We can know the right things and be useless and unfruitful according to Peter.
            1. So, we have to make every effort to grow. 
        2. We are not saved to be spiritually blind and short-sighted and forget our salvation. V. 9
          1. To let ourselves get stagnant and slip backward is to forget who we used to be and that God miraculously transformed us. 
        3. THEREFORE, we are to make every effort to confirm our calling and election and thus never stumble in the faith. V. 10
          1. Here the verbs reverse from verse 5.
            1. “Make every effort” is imperative and “confirm” is the supporting verb. 
          2. We are commanded to make every effort in our faith growth that will confirm our calling to Jesus and election in him. 
        4. It is in this way of living out our faith (James 2) that we enter the eternal kingdom of the Lord Jesus. V. 11
      2. Peter intends for us to know that growing in our faith is not an option if we have been truly called into the life of faith in Jesus through the elective grace of God. 
        1. In other words, if we have been saved, it is God’s work, and our effort at growth is what will show our faith is real, and if we effort at growth in faith, we will grow and see the completion of the good work God began in us (Philippians 1:6). 

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