Summary: Are you serious about growing in the Lord, are you nearsighted? If you actively pursue growth, you are on the road to great spiritual blessing.
Are You Nearsighted?
(2 Peter 1: 5-11)
1. One of my favorite riddles is this one
Q: What did the near-sighted porcupine say when it backed into a cactus?
A: Pardon me, honey!
2. If you are near-sighted, you see objects that are near, but distant objects are blurry or unclear. To put is simply, you are equipped to see trees, but not forests.
3. Some people are near-sighted in their mentality; rather than think about the long term, they think short or perhaps medium term. We tend to view long term thinkers as wise and mature, while we view short-term thinkers as immature and impulsive.
4. This is doubly true in the spiritual realm. Rather than think of an entire lifespan and eternity, immature Christians are just trying to get by at the moment. Thus they look for quick fixes and easy solutions.
5. It IS good not to worry about tomorrow, but that is not the same as saying not to plan. Underlying many of life's issues and problems are spiritual issues, thus spiritual growth should be our focus, because spiritual growth has significant long-term consequences.
Main Idea: Are you serious about growing in the Lord, are you nearsighted? If you actively pursue growth, you are on the road to great spiritual blessing.
I. Avoiding Sinful Corruption Requires a POSITIVE Strategy (5-7)
A. This connects to "escaping CORRUPTION" (verse 4)
B. You need defense and OFFENSE
C. This list is a SAMPLE of virtues to add to faith
Measuring in important to us. We weigh ourselves, we see how tall our children are, we look at report cards, we check our bankbooks. We might also have goals: to balance the books, reduce to a certain weight, or develop a new skill. The same is true in the spiritual realm: we need to aim for growth and then make it happen.
Peter gives us a "chainlink list of virtues"; rhetorically, we call this gradatio (Ben Witherington, Letters and Homilies to Hellenized Christians, Vol. 2, pp. 307-308)
• "Adding" =επιχορηγε'ο = choreography -- add to chorus 7 graces
• Faith is the portal to the Christian life, but not the end
• Seven sample qualities we are to pursue as Christians
1. goodness =virtue = ethical thinking and behavior
A lot of our ethics are based on the Law of Moses, which is a reason to study it. As God's children, we should want to do the right and fair thing.
2. knowledge = insight and understanding
Wayne Grudem writes, "In a day when it is common for people to tell us how hard it is to interpret Scripture rightly, we would do well to remember than not once in the Gospels do we ever hear Jesus saying anything like this: 'I see how your problem arose --the Scriptures are not very clear on this subject.' Instead, whether he is speaking to scholars or untrained common people, his response always assumes that the blame for misunderstanding any teaching of Scripture is not to be placed on the Scriptures themselves, but on those who misunderstand or fail to accept what is written…" (p. 106)
If you don’t' believe you can understand most of the Bible, you won't try. But you can. Not all of it will be clear, but most will be crystal clear. God wants us to spend our lives attempting to understand, learn, apply, and follow His Word.
3. self-control = "reason winning over passion"
4. perseverance = holding up (even if crawling) under trials
5. godliness = honoring God by worshiping Him and living for Him
6. brotherly kindness = affection and concern for fellow believers
7. love = looking out for the interests of others
Are you serious about growing in the Lord, are you nearsighted? If you actively pursue growth, you are on the road to great spiritual blessing.
II. Growing in Grace and Knowledge Has Many FRINGE Benefits (8-11)
A. Spiritual Growth Makes Us Spiritually PRODUCTIVE (8-9)
1. Our temptation: to aim for COMFORT or NEEDS
2. God challenges us to aim for EFFECTIVENESS
3. What do PRODUCTIVE Christians look like?
"full knowledge" or our Savior…
4. Peter INSULTS the spiritually lazy (9)
"near-sighted" means only seeing what is close at hand; no big picture, no eternal perspective, no understanding of consequences in this life for themselves or their families….trying to get by in life…victims rather than victors…
Some parents, for example, are not thinking about the teen or adult years regarding their children; they only think of those sweet years…
their kids are like pets, only the depth of love for them is great
But the goal of producing godly servants for the Kingdom…
Americans are particularly near-sighted, which is why China is becoming the world's leading nation…
B. Spiritual Growth ASSURES Us of Our Election (10)