Thursday, September 26, 2013

Grow in Grace and in the Knowledge of Our Lord

2 Peter 3:15–18:
My article on Christian Life was very well received. This is because all genuine Christian are interested in Christian life and how they may grow thereby. The book of 2Peter has a lot to say on Christian growth. In the backdrop of many false teachers kindly look at the outline of the sermon preached last night:

1.     We should regard the time in which we live as a time of salvation (v.15)
The only history of eternal significance is the story salvation by Christ. It is about the gospel preaching and missions and its off-shoots in sound doctrine and holy living.
2.     This is also what Paul taught, and his letters have the same authority as the inspired Old Testament Scriptures. See, Romans 2:4 (vv.15, 16)
Both Paul and Peter teach that God's withholding judgment is an act of forbearance that should be regarded as giving added time for repentance and salvation. And in 2 Corinthians 6:2 Paul said, "Behold, now is the acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation."
3.     The inspiration of Paul's letters, nevertheless, does not mean they are all easy to understand (v.16). NOTE THE FOLLOWING:
I.         Being inspired, the Scriptures reveal the mind of God.
II.         The mind of God is vastly greater than our mind and will often be perceived by us as strange and complex, not familiar and simple.
III.         Therefore, the Scriptures will sometimes be strange and complex and hard to understand.
IV.         The continued selection only of what is simple in the Bible would be a sin in the regular preaching of the church, because Hebrews 5:13 says, "Everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness; for he is a child."
V.         Therefore, preaching which aims to deliver the whole counsel of God in Scripture (and which does not presume to be wiser than the apostles) will sometimes be complex and will demand from God's people the utmost in humility and mental effort.
4.     The misinterpretation of Scripture can lead to destruction (v.16).
The interpretation of Scripture is a matter of life and death. James said (in 3:1): "Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, for you know that we who teach shall be judged with greater strictness." Why? Because the eternal destiny of the people hangs on how they interpret the Scripture
5.     Therefore, guard yourself from error and destruction by growing in the grace and knowledge of Jesus (v.17-18). 
The antidote to deception and destruction is growth in the grace and knowledge of Christ. Peter's great desire for these people and for us is that we might experience lots and lots of God's grace; that we might suck it up through our roots and grow by it; that we might soak it in like sunshine through our leaves and grow by it. Grace is what we must have when we come to die. Grace is our only ray of hope when the future darkens over with storm clouds of fear.
And how shall we receive this grace? Where shall we send our roots down? To what sunshine shall we turn up our leaves? To the knowledge of God which is based on the promises given to us when the Master bought us by his death (2:1). The best fertilizer for our hope and godliness is the knowledge of our future in God's grace.
6.     Remember that the great goal of God in your life is that Jesus Christ be glorified. Everything else is designed to that end (v18b).

The message of 2 Peter is that the joy of hope is the power of godliness. The knowledge of God's promises is the pathway of his power (1:3, 4). And the promises, the power, the hope, and the godliness are all because of his grace. And so the book ends—and with these words we take our leave: "To him be glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen."

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