Monday, July 29, 2013

Effective & Fruitful

July 28th 2013, Passage: 2 Peter 1:8-9

For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins.

Lack of spiritual growth and increase is a sure sign of spiritual death. Clearly, a man who makes no effort to grow in grace and in the knowledge of God is breaching the contract which he signed when he believed and publicly testified of this in baptism. If this happens, it could lead to apostasy. As we have already found out, there is no room for slothfulness and laxity in Christian living and so we are told to make every effort. This effort has been done effectively so as to bear fruit.
Holiness is essential to Christian living because it is an evidence of the work of grace in a person. Where there is no holiness, then one is shown to be professing what he is not. But the gospel does not make laws – do this and do not do that in order to make us holy. When God saves us, He then engages our mind to reason so that we may come to the conclusion and see the point. In this passage

1.                Why must you be effective and fruitful?
1)       Because you are a partaker of divine nature (v.1-4)
Have you not obtained a faith (from God) of equal standing with the Apostle Peter? Have you not received this like precious faith by the righteousness of God our Saviour? Has not the grace and peace of God multiplied to you? Have you not received all that pertains to life and godliness  by the divine power?
The nature of a Christian life is that he has to be different from what he was redeemed from. We were redeemed from a life of corruption because of sin. Verse 4 tells us that we have escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. So how, can we live as if we are still under the bondage of this corruption? This is why John Piper says, “Lack of diligence in Christian graces may be a sign that we were never called and are not among the elect.”

God chose us before the foundation so that we may be holy and blameless before Him (Eph. 1:4). Christ is called Jesus because He came to save us from sins. His death was to pay the penalty for sins. So how can we live in sin? It would be absurd to be say that you are saved and still live as if you are still in your sins. It would illogical to live in sin when we have been redeemed from sin. It would be foolish to engage in sin when God as called us from there to His holiness.
His divine power has granted you all things that pertain to life and to godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us (v.3). What this means is that for you to live as if you have not received any life and godliness is a denial of the reality of your salvation. This is why we read again and again that without holiness no one will see the Lord… Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work. (2 Tim. 2:21)
The purpose of the gospel, the whole point of salvation is godliness. Why did the Lord Jesus come into the world? What did He save you from? Is not true that you have escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire (v.4)?

2)       Because of the qualities you have (v.5-8)
The second reason is because of the qualities that you have been adding to your faith. We saw from verses 5-7 that you have faith, virtue (excellence), knowledge (of God), self-control, steadfastness, godliness, brotherly affection and love. These qualities is what you have for we read that, “… these qualities are ours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective (idle) or unfruitful (v.8). They are called qualities or spiritual things that are characteristic of a Christian who has been transformed by the rich grace of the Lord. The point the Lord is making is that if we possess these eight spiritual virtues, and if they continue to increase, then we are harvesting and enjoying a very great spiritual growth. These spiritual qualities are to be cultivated and maintained so that they keep on increasing. The result of this increase and growth is that we not ineffective or idle and unproductive rather we are become very fruitful in the kingdom of God. When we are ineffective, we are idle and so fail to produce the necessary fruit that is evidence of salvation. It is not acceptable for anyone who has all that pertain to life and godliness to be barren, unfruitful and unproductive.
Are we growing in the grace and knowledge of Christ? Then we will be fruitful. This will be marked by the being active and committed to the things of God. Spiritual things will be the most sweet and all our delight will be in doing that which adds value to our spiritual well-being. This means that we will be far more prayerful than we have been. You will want to be in every prayer meeting that there is. You will want to spend time with brethren because of the brotherly love. Your desire to grow in the knowledge of God will be unquenchable. Reading the word of God will be a delight.
When you look around Christian churches you will see that very few are interested in vocation ministry. Very few are interested in missions. Very few are interested in witnessing. Very few are interested in attending prayer meetings. Very few are interested in fellowship of brethren. Would say that this is growth?
Let us come to you – What evidence do you have of growth and increase in these qualities? You do not consistently read your bible, you do not have any close fellowship with anyone in the church, you are do not pray as much, you only pray when you wake up, when you are eating, when you are going to sleep! You enjoy reading the newspaper more than reading the Bible. You struggle to wake up to come to church early, but you have never been late for work. While you enjoy watching movies you do not have a single sermon that you have completed watching. The list can go on and on and you will only see yourself for who you are! Peter is urging you here to work on; yes to concentrate on becoming a holy man, a holy woman, a holy Christian so that by so doing you become a very active Christian, a Spirit-led believer.
3)       Because if you lack then you are deliberately damning yourself (v.9)
When you lack this qualities, the Bible says, that you are is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins. Do you have faith, virtue (excellence), knowledge (of God), self-control, steadfastness, godliness, brotherly affection and love? What is the evidence? A person who is not concentrating on increasing in spiritual virtues will soon discover that he has nothing to show for what he professes. His faith will be shown for what it is – dead faith which is not faith at all.
A person who is careless about pressing on and advancing on in faith will soon discover that he can not see at all – he is blind:
·    Blind to faith, for he walks by fleshly sight not by faith,
·    He is blind to excellence, because his standard is pleasing men rather than pleasing God,
·    He is blind to knowledge, because he does not pursue the knowledge of God – he seeks after the earthly knowledge
·    Blind to self-control, because he is not crucifying his flesh
·    Blind to perseverance, because he wants everything now and here
·    Blind to godliness, for he lives for himself not for God
·    Blind to brotherly affection for he loves the world and hates God
·    Blind to love, for he is selfish and is not taught of God.
But this persons is blind and myopic – He cannot see far – he only sees what is earthly, and that which is the most important, the eternal things will be cast away. He will discover that he only wants to enjoy what is here and now, forgetting there is far more time in eternity than on earth. Such a person will soon start calling right wrong and wrong right because he is blind.
4)       Because your were cleansed from your former sins
This man is like a person who has set on a safari but along the way he has forgotten where he was going. He has forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins. His memory has failed him and so he can neither go back nor proceed! How can you forget that you were cleansed from your former sins? What is the goal of Christian life? What are we aiming for? What will we attain at the end of it all?
The object of Christian faith is to be Christ-like so that we may see God. There are many Christians who have forgotten why they got saved in the first place. And so they live for today and not for eternity. They live as if all there is in life is today and there is no eternity to be enjoyed. But the bible is clear that we will see the God – only if we purify ourselves, even as He is pure. There is no place for a person who will be sin-laden. And so if you really want to see God then you better begin to purify your heart today.
You must never forget that you have been purged your former sins. But remember also that if your trust in Christ, He has cleansed you from all your sins – past present and future, because if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1John 1:9). The problem with the person who does not strive toward all the fruit of faith is that he is blind in two directions. When he looks to the future, it's all a haze, and the precious and very great promises of God are swallowed up in a blur of worldly longings. And when he looks back in the past, the forgiveness that made him so excited at first is completely forgotten, and all he sees is an empty prayer and a meaningless ritual of baptism. You must not be like that for you are called to persevere.
The question that is worthy a million dollars is:
2.                How can you be effective and fruitful?
1)       By increasing in these qualities
The whole point of this passage is to tell you that you have to advance in these spiritual qualities. Your faith has to grow, your excellence or virtue has to increase, your knowledge has to advance, your self-control has to be firmer, your perseverance has to be stronger, your brotherly affection has to be more solid, and your love has to be far more fervent. Theses qualities must not stagnate. They must not get cold or weary because true Christians do not stop pursuing growth in grace (3:18). They go on. They advance. They apply themselves with diligence to increase in these things (as verse 8 says). Peter calls us to a holy dissatisfaction with our present attainments.
Yes, we must not be content in being the same (if not worse) Christians than when we first began. We must grow on to maturity. But surely how can you not grow when you re part of a church that has been endowed with all spiritual gifts? How can be the same when the Bible says that the Lord gave some to be apostles, others prophets, evangelists, teachers and pastors for the equipping of the saints for work of ministry. If you are not getting equipped for the work of ministry, then there is something very wrong. If you are not increasing then there is a possibility that there is no life at all.
How do you know that you have been growing? Consider your life, are you more familiar with the Scriptures more than when you began? This is a result of thorough study, hearing it, reading it, memorizing and meditating on it and applying it on your life. do you pray more? Do you enjoy and cultivate the fellowship of brethren more? Are you more organized and deliberate in your seeking to build the church? I mean do you have any spiritual input on any believer in the church today more than when you began?
Id this is not true, then go and pray over the matter that you have identified slack and sloth. Then plan in terms of time and resources you need to improve on it. And then move on to execute before the end of this week. Do not make excuses. Do not postpone planning to tomorrow. Do it today. For example, let us say that your faith has been growing weak. Plan now how you will seek to restore your faith to back to strength. Do not leave a day.
2)       By keeping in mind what has happened
What has happened to you so that you became a Christian? God in the eternity past, planned your salvation. In the fullness of time, He sent His Son, and He was born of a woman, He was born under the law and He lived among men, men of sin. He perfectly obeyed the law and perfectly fulfilled all righteousness so that He perfectly pleased God. He died on the cross and secured for all time salvation for a people, from every nation, every tribe, every language and every race. On the Day of Pentecost He sent the Holy Spirit to come and appropriate the wonderful blessings of redemption!
The Spirit of God regenerated you so that in him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory. (Ephesians 1:13-14, ESV)
How can you forget such a great and wonderful thing? Live then as a person who is conscious of the great and wonderful thing that has happened to you.

How do you keep in mind what has happened to you? By reading your Bible By being there whenever it is being faithfully preached. By preaching it yourself to your friends and neighbours. By living it and applying it on every situation of your life. this way you will keep in mind what has happened. This way, you will never forget. This way you will not be nearsighted, you will not be blind. This way you will be effective and fruitful in the knowledge of our God Lord Jesus Christ.

Friday, July 26, 2013



For false Christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect. (This is true. Considering those that sell God's anointing with plant a seed here, get a miracle there. But Owour preachers about Holiness and Purity. Turning away from sexual sin, immorality, homosexuality, and the gospel of richness.Hebrews 12:14-make effort to be holy, without holiness no one will see the Lord.About leading astray and performing wonders, it is yet to come during the tribulation 2 Thessa. 2:3-10 For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way. i,e the Holy spirit is the one barring the Devil from being revealed, when He (Holy Spirit) is taken during the rapture, then the Antichrist will be revealed). 

2. Test of the spirits-I have already done that on Prophet Owour since 2006 till 2012 from personal followup on him. And Through Christ mercies he is a true Prophet. Do not use the mount kenya slogan please, that since Luos are not circumcised, then Owour is wrong...hehe. that is my part. Just do your own analysis, follow up on what he speaks and you can clearly see how he emphasizes about repentance and holiness, rebuking women that dresses scantly, and false pastors in the Church. Just conduct your own analysis...not on what others say, but what on what you know is your self-evaluation.

3. Parading miracles-On my perspective that cannot be called parading. It is confirming about Jehovah's mighty healing power after doctors confirm that truly that person was ill and that after the prayer they have been healed. He emphasizes through his "parading" that that is not an indication of boastfulness, but a manifestation about the redemption and deliverance. Because if a person is healed instantly when you are preaching in your church, do you hide the healed or you bring them before the congregation to thank the creator God. It is not like he sends the films to CNN, and BBC. The "parade" only takes place at that meeting to encourage the faithful that Jehovah is God, alive, real, Good, and working. The same concept is found in the Ark of the covenant, where there were articles of worship. Each article had a reminder to remind Israelite about the Redeeming power of their God..e.g how he turned bitter water into clean water, how he helped them cross the red sea, e.t.c. and they did so for generations. How about when a member of the church is Healed of HIV, sight restores, leprosy healed,and genuine repentance taking place Acts 17:30-31, Jeremiah 8:4-10...should the church NOT REJOICE? 

4. Shekinah Glory-He DOES NOT HAVE SHEKINAH GLORY PLEASE. and neither does he claim to have it. The sheikinah glory is God's Glory. and it came down in Kisumu Stadium on 30th-1st-December 2012/2013 Kisumu meeting. The Glory came just as it came during the time of Moses. indicating that since the shepherds are now senseless and misleading the sheep Jer 10:20-22, God himself has come to take care of the sheep and also to proof about his true Prophet. Shekinah Glory is seen in Gen 1:3-"let there be light" that light is not the sun, but the Messiah, seven times brighter than the sun (Isaiah 30:26), John chapter 1;

Miracles and Healing here and there-Just read Matt. 24-no one can heal except the Lord was with him. But when the devil is released (2 Thess 2:3-10) and the church raptured (1 Thess 4:16-18). Then "miracles to mesealed will be performed by the Devil. The bible says if you will not be raptured (Owour's primary message, the wedding of the Lamb-remember Matt 25 the story of wise and foolish virgins)then to enter heaven will be a problem. 2 Thess 2:11-12 God will send them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie 12 and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.


Maccos Cyrus:
1. I so much appreciate that you are seeking to engage me with Scriptures - for it is only the Scriptures that are able to make people wise for salvation (2Tim. 3:15). Let us always go back to the Word of God in the Bible to examine our faith and practice. I also appreciate that you are seeking to defend a preacher that you regard as biblical and truthful to the gospel. For these two things I must give you the credit for you are really trying in comparison to the many who are engaging me in as far as this article is concerned.

2. In response to what you have written:
1)   Owuor is wrong on his doctrine of sin and of repentance and conversion: You have rightly pointed out many other preachers who are persuaded that they are serving God, by selling anointing oil, handkerchiefs, miracles etc. you say that Owuor is right because he preaches holiness and repentance: If you read my article I pointed where Owuor’s doctrine is wrong – He preaches national repentance and repents on behalf of individuals. National repentance was never preached in the New Testament. When national repentance was preached to the Jews, it did not work and for this reason people from other nations who trusted in the true God like Rahab and Ruth were brought to the knowledge of the living God. Repentance is only an evidence of faith in Christ. His national repentance is forcing the leaders – the president and other national leaders to his meeting with a threat of violence if they do not come. True repentance is only in a person who has experienced the powerful conviction of the Holy Spirit. Genuine repentance occurs in a heart that has been regenerated by the Spirit of God. If someone only repents for a show, for political expedience like Uhuru and Raila and other presidential candidates did before the election, this cannot be a genuine repentance. If they really repented, did they get converted – where they saved? No they continue to live the same life! Maccos we are living at a time when people have an appearance of godliness but deny its power. Good that he preaches against homosexuality and a few other sensitive sins or sins that elicit public outcry… but sin is in the heart and it defiles a man (Mark 7:21-23). Sin is not just what is done by hands or feet or any other bodily member. Sin is in the heart and it has been dealt with from the heart by God removing the heart of stone and replacing it with a heart of flesh. This is the work of God, this is why only true gospel can produce a genuine repentance and a genuine faith. Do we have any example from the Bible where sinners were required to repeat a prayer after the preacher? One who has been convicted of sin by the Holy Spirit will indeed repent of sins personally to Christ and beg for forgiveness. At the same time the work of the preacher is to announce the good news (gospel) and invite sinners to Christ (not to himself). The work of the preacher is to tell sinners of their sins and of the Saviour that we have in Christ. It is not the work of the preacher to ‘save’! It is not the work of the preacher to repent on behalf of the sinner! On all these counts, you notice, Owuor is wrong.
2)   Test the spirits: The way to test the Spirits is not by defending them. It is by examining their practices with Scriptures – this is what we are doing right now. Find out if their doctrine is drawn from Scripture and then find out also the fruit of their lives. It is true that he rebukes sin here and there and this he has to do for him to be regarded as a credible preacher of righteousness. But How well do you know him Maccos? Do you know his personal life? Where is his family? What do the ‘wailing women do’? Why has he become so popular with politicians? Is it possible for a truthful preacher to be so popular with politicians if he is indeed committed to godliness and holiness? Look, the gospel is a very bitter pill for sinners and this is the reason why the Bible is clear that for the gospel to work in someone’s heart it takes the hand of God – the work of the Spirit in his heart. The condition of man in sin is so sinful that he would not receive the things of God: “The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.”(1Cor. 2;14) Clearly the pulling of crowds including the politicians who do not change shows that Owuor is appealing to a carnal person and in this regard he cannot be a faithful proponent of the truths of the gospel. He promises healing them, deliverance etc. and so they come, not to hear the gospel but to have their ‘felt needs’ met. It is all about them and nothing about God! Owuor knows this and so he uses it entice them. The Bible describes such preachers like this: “For speaking loud boasts of folly, they entice by sensual passions of the flesh those who are barely escaping from those who live in error. They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption… (2Peter 2:18-19a). You appear to have gotten me wrong on the “Mt. Kenya slogan” I was only quoting what he said… it was not a statement with any ethnic bias (Of course I am from Mount Kenya, but I do not approach Christian brethren in terms of where they come from or who they are in terms of their ethnicity, status or anything else. In fact the church, where I pastor has almost every Kenyan tribe represented, for which I thank the Lord. Even the leadership is similarly constituted, without intending to be so, for we first consider the Biblical qualifications). The women who dress scantily, as the experience the power of the gospel their dresses will be longer and longer – it does not happen because you just rebuked it. The power of the gospel is great in making sinners whether prostitutes or thieves to change – be transformed in their hearts and in their minds and are conformed to the likeness of Christ.
3)   Parading miracles: Who would doubt that Owuor parades miracles? Of course you have admitted it when you have said, “The "parade" only takes place at that meeting to encourage the faithful that Jehovah is God, alive, real, Good, and working” Is there a passage in Scripture that encourages this? Do we have anywhere where the Lord Jesus or his disciples did this? Brother do not accept practices that have no Scriptural back up. Do not excuse them – reject them! The reason why he does it is so that he may attract more – he is not interested in the glory of Jehovah! Look at his posters – his pictures all over! Look at the ‘alters’ where he is preached – his pictures are put up on the banners. No wonder his followers call him Lord! Do we read anywhere in the Bible of the Lord or His disciples sending messengers before hand to announce of their coming or of the miracles that will take place? The reason all these is done is to condition people and raise up the profile of the preachers. There is a Swahili saying, “Chema chajiuza, kibaya chajitembeza” – you don’t need to advertise a good thing – it will sell itself but a bad thing needs a lot of advertising! Please do not dismiss the fact that you know too well that Owuor parades false miracles.
4)   Shekinah Glory: What is it? It is the glory of God and it has never descended on any man ever. It is what surrounds Him and it is in fact God’s presence. I have personally seen on Owour’s billboard (the live screen by the Haile Selassie/Uhuru Highway roundabout) where he claims that it is descending on him. But I don't need to go to the billboard because you say that ‘it came down  in Kisumu.’ Do you understand how presumptuous this is? To boisterously lay such a claim on a man is to simply call him God! This statement that Owuor has God’s glory descending on him, whether in Kisumu or wherever is blasphemous and he will dearly pay for it, if he does not repent. Do listen to such blasphemy Maccos, for Christ’s sake – I plead with you do not be taken for such rides. you say that you are an educated Christian, why give glory to a man? Why let yourself to be blinded by such arrogant blind claims? Did the glory came to Moses? Or are you claiming that God came down in Kisumu like the way it was in Mt. Sinai (Is this a good thing?) Nope! The most excellent thing is that God has come by His Son – Jesus Christ, secured for us redemption by His blood and God has sent His Holy Spirit to indwell all genuine believers. Do not go for such sensational and false pretenses in the name of God – listen to Him in His Word.
5)    Miracles: Take far more time to read the passage in Matthew. At this time many who claim to perform miracles are out to deceive. Instead of concentrating on explaining the Bible they purport to perform miracles. Instead of preaching Christ and Christ crucified, they are gathering for themselves followers. Some ask for money, others want popularity, others have political leadership in mind etc. All of them are in the same category… False teachers. Those who sell miracles are the same category with those who sell the so called anointing oil. They do not know the Christ that they talk about? They have no idea the power of Christ to save. I want you to be very honest and evaluate the miracles of Owuor by bringing in your relative or friend or neighbor that you have known for long to his meetings and find out whether they will be healed. There is no question that this man has an aura of authority, he has an appearance of godliness, and he seems to preach the truth, but this is only a façade – it will soon be uncovered and he will be known for who he is! Many have come like him and have gone, they rise and fall because God cannot be mocked. He has clearly said in his word, “But these, like irrational animals, creatures of instinct, born to be caught and destroyed, blaspheming about matters of which they are ignorant, will be destroyed in their destruction, suffering wrong as the wage for their wrong doing… (2Peter 2:12ff)

An Appeal to you Maccos and all others who are attracted to Owuor or any other sensational preacher:
For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. 1 Peter 2:21

Follow the sound teaching, not cleverly devised myths… Read your Bible, meditate on it day and night, and follow the instructions of the Lord, not of men. Avoid sensational people. Go to a church that preaches the whole Bible not bits and pieces here and there. I know you may not even know that there are churches that preach the Bible book by book, chapter after chapter and verse by verse. But there are churches that are very committed to the truths of the bible and will not be content in anything else.
You may be used to those who preach "panda mbegu - ubarikiwe!" or those who sell anointing oil or brooms or handkerchiefs... But all these are fake because they have lost the mark of the Lord. They preach what is earthly instead of real blessings from Christ that are spiritual, permanent and imperishable. Come out of them for they do not know the light of dawn (Isa. 8:20)
Evaluate everyone preacher and every church in terms of its commitment to the Word of God. Ask yourself this: Is the Bible preached faithfully as a whole? Or is it a passage here today and there tomorrow? Are they committed to preaching the whole Bible faithfully? Are they following in the footsteps of Christ in truth and godliness? Are they gathering people to Christ or to themselves? Is this ministry centered around one man? Is this this church deviating from what the church of Christ has done since its inception todate? Have they introduced things that are new? If yes ask them why? Question every practice and find out if it is grounded on the Word of God.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Make Every Effort

July 21st 2013, Passage: 2 Peter 1:5-7
Preached at Trinity Baptist Church, Nairobi

For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love.

Imagine that when this place was being put up, brothers, knowing that they will need light, they did not go to the shop and buy the best bulbs there are. First they went to the Kenya Power and Lighting Company and applied for electricity connection. The KPLC guys came with cables and connected this premises with the source – one of the seven-folks project, say Kindaruma dam or the power from Jinja Uganda. Then they got fundis who came and installed bulbs etc. How about if you went and got the best, the most expensive fluorescent tubes without the source working? How about if there was not connection between the source of power and the consumer? What about if the switches are turned off? All these would render the place to be in darkness.
What we have done in the  previous passage is consider three things:
·     our goal in Christian living is life and godliness,
·     the source of strength in Christian living in order to become godly is divine power, and
·     the activating connection between the goal of godliness and the source of divine power is knowing and trusting the promises of God.
Once you have this settled then the passage that follows. The passage before us would not be sensible if there was no verse 3 & 4. This passage is a trailer that cannot function without the engine. While we are the light of the world to light our families, our neighbours, our colleagues at work, our classmates and schoolmates, God is the Kindaruma, the source of the power and His precious and very great promises are the cables connecting us with Him.
1. God has worked for you
For this reason Peter says,
         For this very reason…”
What reason is he referring to? This command is based on verses 3 and 4 (which are descriptive of what God has done for us). God's divine power has given us all things that lead to godliness (v. 3); Therefore, "for this reason". Please never forget this one most important thing. It is the heart of the rest of Christian life. When you are not connected to the source, it does not matter how good your bulbs are – you will not have the light. If the are no connection cables, I can assure you that you will not shine at all! We are able to make effort only because God has done all. Because it is all finished on the cross, we can be true Christians. God has laboured  in you in order to make you labour – the order must never be reversed! Catholics have reversed the order, the Muslims have reversed the order, Arminians have! The right order is that we are freely justified by faith alone and this is not of ourselves lest any man may boast – it is the gift of God not as a result of works.

On Friday night with a lady who was saying, I will clean up the mess in my life and then go to the Saviour. I told you can’t clean any mess, plead with Christ to clean your life first and then you will be able to live a life pleasing to Him. You must never think, "I will work out my salvation in order that God might work in me." God will work in you to make you who was dead to be alive, you who was a slave to be free, you who was blind to see, for it is God who works in you both to will and to do His good pleasure. If you will forget everything, you must not forget this, for it is the message of the gospel:
Gospel in the first place never requires or requests us to do anything! It declares and announces what God has done for us. Christianity is a done religion and in effect is different from all other religions which are do! Do this! Don't do that! Do not handle, do not touch, do not taste! The rationale for this order of things in Christianity is that Christianity acknowledges that man at his best and highest is a lost creature, completely and absolutely depraved – lost in sin and dead in sin. As a result each and every man is under God’s wrath and condemnation. So, although he may strive and work at getting closer to God, he can’t because of the enmity between. Unless God provided the remedy there would be no hope of man.
You see we have been called to live a supernatural life – Christian life is a supernatural life, so how can we live supernaturally with a supernatural aid? How can we participate in the divine nature without the divine power? It is impossible. God has to work first. Has God worked in your life? Have you known the power of God in salvation?
If you have experienced the grace of God in salvation, then this passage is for you. For in this passage we are told how to live supernaturally. It is a balanced Christian life of faith. It begins with faith and ends in love and between the two we have six steps. The ground zero is faith and the ladder takes you up, step by step and to love. The amazing phrasing between what God has done and what you are to do is faith – faith that works, living faith that comes from God is the faith that makes every effort to supplement faith with all these virtues listed:
2. You have to make every effort

Having finished with indicates or descriptive of the salvation, we are commanded,
“…make every effort to supplement…”
This passage tells us that having lifeless, motionless and completely helpless after God has come in our lives and given us all the faculties and the strength and ability to move into action, we have no business being as useless as before He came. In fact he has aided us to by His divine power with all things to make us effective Christians – what business do we have of living as if we have no mandate? Make every effort means that we must be diligent hastily. That is when God calls a sinner, He wants him to put forth every possible effort to obey this divine call and to do so without any delay. The verb translated ‘supplement’ is very interesting it is a very vivid metaphor drawn from the Athenian drama festivals. Where a rich individual called chorēgos paid the expenses of the chorus and joined the poets in putting up the play.
This could be a very costly thing to do and so the term came to the daily usage to mean, generous and costly cooperation. In the same way a Christina must engage in this kind of cooperation with God in the production of a Christian life which is a credit to himself.[1]
This means that once we get saved God makes us able to supplement His work with ours so that we bring our diligence into God’s use by His Spirit. We say that salvation is completely monergistic but sanctification is synergistic or God does everything to save us so that we can live an active life of salvation. Is this true of you? what are you doing in to add to your faith? How do you grow as a Christian? By working out your salvation with fear and trembling, God working in you to will and to do God’s good pleasure (Phil. 2:12, 13). Brethren, I reiterate the command of God, “…make every effort to supplement…(or to furnish) your faith”
3. Supplement your faith with these qualities
The foundation quality is faith. What is faith? The bible defines faith as the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Now, what is that? Faith is the personal reliance of the believer – it is his subjective trust in His Lord and Saviour and therefore is the basis (root and source) of his spiritual life.[2] This is the saving faith, the justifying faith, the faith that pleases God, the faith that made Abraham to be credited with righteousness. This is the faith that is God’s gift.
The qualities in reference are descriptive of the Christian life that is a growing life and it presents us with the nature and the character of the Christian life. What Peter is saying here is that as a Christian, you have to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ (3:18). This is because true Christians do not stop pursuing growth in grace. They go on. They advance. They apply themselves with diligence to increase in these things so that they become effective and fruitful Christians in the knowledge of Christ. This is the clear evidence that they have indeed been cleansed from former sins and have in fact, escaped the corruption of the world because of sinful desire. What qualities are we talking about here?

v“…supplement your faith with virtue…”
What does the word ‘virtue’ mean? This word has changed its meaning in usage over the centuries. Today when we talk of a young woman’s virtues, we are referring to her moral character. But you notice this meaning could not fly in this passage because all the qualities listed are virtues and surely, the Lord could be telling us supply in your faith virtue and then go on to tell other virtues. This word is used here to mean moral power. It means the you have a faith that is live and energetically active. There is no lethargy in faith and so when you discover that vigour of your faith in action is waning, then remember the word of the Lord, supplement your faith with virtue. This word is also translated excellence or goodness and it relates to one of God’s attributes as it is in v.3. God has called to his own glory and excellence (same word). When asked the question “What is God?” We respond,
God is Spirit, infinite, eternal, and unchangeable in His being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness and truth.[3]
Christ went round Galilee doing good. Is this true of you? What good have you done to another? What good have done to God, you Maker and Saviour?

v“…supplement your virtue with knowledge…”
The next quality that follows or even flows from goodness is knowledge. It is a word that tells us to use our minds. It is not relational knowledge in view here. Rather it is practical wisdom or sagacity. This is the wisdom that distinguishes the good from the bad, the right from the wrong. It is discerning wisdom. It is gained from exercising faith and goodness together so that there is insight and understanding. This serves to strengthen faith and teach virtue.
One of the basic problem of our day is ignorance in spite of the outburst of the seams of the information technology. People don't read. Many are happy in their ignorance. Christians do not know their Bibles and so many are led astray by false teachers. They believe everyone who comes along. Devote your self to learning and to growing in the knowledge of God for the people who know their God shall be mighty and do exploits. Therefore, supplement your virtue with knowledge.

v“…supplement your knowledge with self-control…”
Self-control is discipline and it is synonymous with sports and the strict training that it goes with. How many times do we read this from the Bible, “Rather train yourself for godliness, for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and the life to come … devote yourself … do not neglect the gift you have… practice these things, immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your progress… keep a close watch on yourself… persist in this.”  (1Timothy 4:7-8, 13 – 16)
 Who can show an athlete who won any medal without training and discipline and self-control? Self-control is so much needed in reference to the temptation to pleasure and indulgent. On Friday I saw those guys at Slim-Possible eating and tones of chips and roast chicken and they said that was only an appetizer they were yet to have a meal. Many confessed that they couldn’t restrain themselves from eating. Is this true of you? What is it that you have cast off all restraints? Is it lust? Is it covetousness? Is it anger? What is it that you need to exercise self-control? Many of you need to discipline yourself with time. Self control is to be exercised in every aspect of Christian life. This means that your soul and mind controls the passions and feelings instead if being controlled by them. A Christian ought to exercise self-control depending and trusting in the Lord for help.

v“…supplement your self-control with steadfastness…”
Steadfastness is the same as perseverance and it means to remain under control even during a conflict. Thayer supplies its definition as follows:
Perseverance is the “characteristic of a man who is unswerved from his deliberate purpose and his loyalty to faith and piety by even the greatest trials and sufferings.” While we need self-control for the temptations that we may be inclined to desire (pleasure), we need steadfastness during trials of conflict, we need it when we are faced with problems that we are finding it hard to cope.
Patience is no stoic quality of accepting all that comes as from the dictates of blind fate. It springs from faith in the promises of God, knowledge of Christ, experience of His divine power. And so it produces in the Christian a deepened awareness of a Father’s wise and loving hand controlling all that happens.[4] If you are going to persevere to the end, then you will be saved. If you stop on the way because of the terrible worldly problems then you are going to be damned. We should remember that we are God’s children, marching on to a glorious eternal inheritance which we shall enter, ‘after we have suffered awhile[5]’.

v“…supplement your steadfastness with godliness…”
Godliness is a very practical awareness of God in every aspect of one’s life. It is living in the presence (and therefore, fear) of God. This is what John Calving Coram Deo (in the presence of God). In bringing this before brotherly affection is very significant because Peter is saying that relationship with men can only be meaningful where relationship with God is there.  The only reason why we do all we do as Christians is because of God. We are interested in supplementing to our faith virtue knowledge, self-control, steadfastness, godliness, brotherly affection and love,  only because we care about pleasing God. There is no point in all these things unless they are centrally related to pleasing God.

v“…supplement your godliness with brotherly affection…”
This is Philadelphia. On the other hand if you think you can love and hate your brother, then you are completely mistaken. The evidence that you love God is that you care for His people, you love those He has redeemed by the blood of His Son. How can my Asaph my son say that he loves me, yet beats up Ruth every time? If this happens I will ever be on him to protect Ruth from him! love for brethren means caring for them both spiritually and materially. It is bearing each others burdens, whether physical or spiritual, admonishing one another, praying for one another, remembering each other always etc. Michael Green says that love for brethren entails bearing another’s burdens, and so fulfilling the law of Christ; it means guarding that Spirit-given unity from destruction by gossip, prejudice, narrowness, and the refusal to accept a brother Christian for what he is in Christ.

v“…supplement your brotherly affection with love…”
Love has its origin in God and has first to be returned to God for it to be the love that the Lord wants for His people. This is the fulfillment of the law. Faith works in love and love fulfills the law. This is because the law is summarized in the commands, “You shall love the love the Lord your God with all your all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind…. You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Matthew 22:37, 39)

Please remember that we do not judge a person's Christian profession by how close he is to heaven but by how hard he is pressing heavenward. The evidence that God's power has been given to you by faith is that you are now making every effort (as verse 5 says) to advance in the qualities of Christ. Are you? if there is no evidence that you are advancing and increasing in these qualities, then you may be deceiving yourself.
This is the command here:
"Forward! Forward! Forward! As you have obtained faith in Christ and stand in it, now apply yourself diligently to advance in moral excellence; and as you stand in that, do not be satisfied but press on to increase your knowledge of God's will; and as you stand in that, do not be satisfied but be diligent to enlarge your capacities of self-control and mastery of your passions; and as you stand in that, don't be satisfied but cultivate every form of patience and serenity; and in that let devoutness and piety and sweet love to God flourish; and in that strive to kindle your affection for other believers; and in and through it all grow in love to all men." (John Piper)
In other words: Forward! Forward! Press On! Advance! If you are making effort and advancing, it is an evidence that you are plugged into God’s power and that you are connected to Him by His precious and very promises.

[1] Michael Green, Tyndale New Testament Commentaries, 2 Peter and Jude, p.76, IVP
[2] Simon J. Kistemaker, NT Commentary Peter and Jude, Evangelical Press
[3] Spurgeon’s Shorter Catechism,
[4] Michael Green, Tyndale New Testament Commentaries, 2 Peter and Jude, p.78, IVP
[5] D. M. Lloyd Jones, Expository sermons on 2peter, p.29, Banner of Truth Trust.