Bible Study from Calvary Chapel Newberg
with Tom Fuller
Add To Your Faith
There?s nothing like a good tool to help get the job done. A few years ago I did some remodeling on our house ? and I had to put in a vent for a sink and shower, cutting through the rafters and out of the roof. I tried and tried to do it with my saws and drills, but to no avail. Then the contractor working on the project turned me on to something called a ?sawsall? ? wow, what a difference.
The right tool really helps in the garden too ? as long as you take care of them. I had a shovel ? had. I left some dirt and water on a shovel over the winter, and when I took it out to use it the rust had eaten half of it away ? so I had to throw it away.
Peter the Apostle knew the importance of good tools. He was a fisherman ? he knew nets and boats ? and relied on them for his livliehood.
When Peter became a fisher of men he used different tools ? tools for winning souls, and tools for growing Christians.
In our study of Peter?s first book, we received a lot of those tools in our spiritual tool box ? learning the true purpose of suffering, and the transformation that takes place in our hearts and how that then transforms how we relate with each other in church, at work, and home, and in the world.
But just like physical tools will rust if not kept clean and dry ? and used (like my lawn mower) ? so too spiritual tools can rust and decay and effect our lives and abilities to be a tool in God?s hands.
So Peter in his second book ? reminds us to pick up those tools and use them, cherish them, keep them operational ? and stay healthy, awake and sharp for the Lord.
2 Peter 1:12 ?So I will always remind you of these things, even though you know them and are firmly established in the truth you now have.?
So we come to 2nd Peter.
Written by: Peter, from Rome, approximately 64-67 or so AD
Written to: the same recipients as 1st Peter
Characterized: The dark side of the Christian Life
Main points: (1) Maturity, (2) Apostasy (false teachers) (3) Assurance
Why was it written: Peter was about to die ? he needed to give his last advice
Main points of our study today:
? Everything we need comes from our knowledge of God (vs 2, 3, 8)
? Our goal in life should be to escape one nature and dive into another
? We can?t manufacture faith, but we can add to it
? If we don?t add to our faith, we?ll subtract from our effectiveness
? It?s important that we respond to what God does in our lives
Vs 1 ? 2
God AND Savior Jesus ? either the cults are right, or the Bible is right
Vs 3 ? 4
? Everything you need ? not everything you want
? It comes from divine power, not human power
? The focus is on 1 ? life and 2 ? Godliness
? ?Life? refers to our new spiritual life in Him
? ?Godliness? actually means ?good worship? ? basically its loving God and caring about His ways. We used to translate the word ?piety?
? We get what we need by knowing Him ? not by going to church
? The promises of God are both great (greatest or very great) and precious (valuable, costly, esteemed)
? We mustn?t forget that God is out to do 2 things in our life: Make us part of His character, and allow us to escape the corruption here in this world.
? Corruption means ?decay? ? make no mistake, the ways of this world will decay your life until it is ruined ? and it all comes from lust (evil desires).
? Lust is nothing more than a longing for what is forbidden ? that could be a sexual relationship, a physical thing, a position ? we can even lust after the supposed freedom to do whatever we want to do without worrying about God ? Lust is a way to draw us away from God and ultimately to the enemy because we are either serving God or we are serving Satan.
Vs 5 ? 9
That leads us to a question: Where are you in your Christian walk ? stagnant? Moving forward? Or, heaven forbid, backwards?
If you take stock of your life ? do you find that God is working in you? You might not be saving people or doing ?great things? for God in your estimation ? but He?s allowing you to go through trials, and you are seeing your life changed.
If, however you look back and it?s just a continual descending into carnality ? then you need to watch out for decay ? big time.
We always need to move forward in our Christian walk ? and to do that takes some fuel. Peter here calls it ?adding? to your faith. This doesn?t mean that you can, by your own works, add to the work of Jesus ? everything is still from His righteousness ? but you can add to your faith ? like we add protein powder to oatmeal.
There are 7 qualities Peter wants us to have ? they don?t necessarily come one after another, although there is a natural progression in the order as we mature. It?s a blueprint for growing in your faith. The idea is that we shouldn?t just be satisfied that God works in us one or two of these qualities, but we should seek ALL of them.
Barnes says three things should take place:
? Cultivation (create an atmosphere for growth),
? Progress (always plant seeds in the soil of your life), and
? Accumulation (don?t just grow in one area at a time ? but gather in crop after crop)
What does it mean to ?add? to your faith? One Greek scholar put it this way ? let faith be the chorus leader, the choir director, and let all the voices of your life ? the characteristics, follow that direction in a beautiful song of praise to God.
Means: ?Virtue or manliness, courage, valor? ? the idea is that we should aspire with great energy, to do what it takes to reflect God in all that we do.
I would suggest ? not what you know but who you know.
3) Self Control
That?s exactly what it means ? the ability to say ?no? to something you shouldn?t think, say, or do.
Cheerful patience. We ?wait? on God ? comes from knowing Him and having the ability to say ?no?
This basically means: loving God and His ways.
6) Brotherly Kindness
Philadelphia ? that?s the Greek word. Do good things for others ? it?s a type of love, but more of a fraternal love, not the intense agape love.
This is the last on the list ? that self giving, sacrificing type of love that led Jesus to give His life for us.
You can see the progression: A desire to be like God, gaining knowledge of Him, leading to shunning the ways of the world, leading to waiting on God instead ? this leads to us taking on more of His character ? which in turn leads us to give in kindness and love to others.
If you?ve always wondered how to ?do great things for God? here is the list ? just follow this and you will be effective and productive.
If, however you kind of let your life slide along ? what develops is a myopia (near sightedness). You can only see what is directly around you and related to you, rather than having a wider view of what the Lord is up to and wants you to do. We become instead self centered ? and unable to do His work.
We forget what Jesus did ? and what He charged us to do because when we focus on ourselves we forget that real love is ? focused on others.
Vs 10 ? 11
You?re not more saved, but you feel more like it. If you want to be more sure you are saved, try to grow in these areas. Its more for our benefit ? God calls and chooses ? but for us to feel saved, is a very good thing.
Maybe this should prompt you to question your salvation ? if you look back to a string of carnality. Go back to Salvation 101.
A rich welcome ? or sneaking in the side door with no fanfare ? which would you rather have?
In conclusion, striving to mature and grow in the knowledge of God gives us these things:
Make you fruitful - Keep you from being blind - Assure your calling - Assure you of a rich welcome.
What?s missing here? A bunch of rules ? do?s and don?ts.
To know God is to love God is to become like God, is to love others.