Summary: Spiritual maturity does not automatically happen, Christians confirm the call by living God's holy word. Please read this sermon and pray through the passages to learn the steps in become more mature in one's faith.
CONFIRMING THE CALL
Online Sermon: http://www.mckeesfamily.com/?page_id=3567
“One night, a mother fixed a special meal for her family: turkey with mashed potatoes and gravy, corn, green beans, cranberry sauce, and apple pie for dessert. It was everyone’s favorite meal, especially when it came at a time other than Thanksgiving. The aroma filled the house, and as the children came in from playing they could hardly wait for dinner to begin. The last child appeared only a few minutes before dinner time and sat through the meal without eating, even though he especially loved those foods. Why? Because he had filled up on junk food at a friend’s house. In settling for something good, he had lost his appetite for the best. The same applies to our spiritual appetites. Some people don’t have much of an appetite for spiritual truth because they have satisfied themselves with lesser things.”
In the passage that we are going to look at today Peter asks an important question to all Christians: has your life confirmed your calling and election? We tend to be too much like the boy in the above story, filling our spiritual lives with lesser and often the sinful things of life. Too often believers choose to surrender small parts of their lives over to Christ but for the most part live like the pleasure-seeking pagans whose only goal in life is to gratify the evil desires of their hearts. When these carnal Christians refuse to confirm their calling by living holy lives they dishonor the sacrifice of Christ on the cross that cleansed their past sins! While choice is where sin dwells it is also where spiritual maturity begins … we can choose to live holy lives! The first part of this sermon will focus on God’s spiritual provision that enables believers to choose and remain on the right path. The second part of this sermon will outline the need to grow spiritually by increasing one’s faith, goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, mutual affection and love. The last part of this sermon will focus on each believer’s true objective in life: confirming one’s calling and election by living holy lives so that they might receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
GOD’S SPIRITUAL PROVISIONS
While conversion is a big step towards knowing God, it is not intended to be the end of spiritual growth. Born again believers do not start out as spiritually mature but instead as mere babies (1 Peter 2:2) who continue to struggle with the evil desires of their hearts (James 1:14; 1 Peter 4:3). Through great effort and by the power of the Holy Spirit one can learn to be a slave unto righteousness rather than a slave to sin (Romans 6:18). Given this is true then why are so many Christians still immature in the faith? While laziness certainly keeps many from trying to become mature, it is the yoke of a defeatist attitude that typically holds many believers on the starting line of spiritual maturity. Having applied the pages of numerous self-help books only to repeatedly fail has left many “babes” in Christ with a profound feeling that spiritual maturity for any human being is elusive and beyond their reach! Instead of running the race towards spiritual maturity too many Christians today choose to be satisfied with lying down on the kingdom track and remain babies, eating, sleeping and “pooping” (sinning) in God’s kingdom.
3 His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of Him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4 Through these He has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires (verses 3-4, NIV).
To combat the defeatist attitude of these babes, Peter reminds them that all that is needed for a believer to live the life that God intends was and will continue to be faith in the free gift of His unmerited grace through Jesus Christ (John 10:10; 2 Corinthians 12:9). Efforts to become spiritually mature fail when they are not grounded in the One who calls and enables His own to live holy lives (1 Thessalonians 4:7). It is though God’s divine power that our minds are transformed into His likeness (Romans 12:1-2). To know this is true the believer only needs to review and stand on the promises of the O.T. about a “new era of salvation and the blessing that God would bring into being through His Son.” The O.T. promise to cleanse and purify the heart and minds of believers has been fulfilled in the reception of the Holy Spirit. It is precisely through union with Christ and the indwelling of the Spirit that born-again believers participate in the divine nature, empowered to not only escape being corrupted by their evil desires but to embrace spiritual maturity as well. For a new believer to say, “God cannot help a wretch like me to grow spiritually” is the equivalent of denying God the power to turn a stone heart into flesh! By the same faith that we were saved we are also transformed.