Summary: In these verses is a list of virtues that should be growing in the life of the believer. They are best translated by referring to moral excellence, practical wisdom, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness and unselfish love.
Sherwood Baptist Church has one of the most dynamic media ministries of any church in America. They have produced Facing the Giants, arguably the best feature-length movie ever made by a local church. It’s a God-glorifying, excellently created sports film in the tradition of Hoosiers, Remember the Titans, and Friday Night Lights. Facing the Giants is being released by Sony/Goodwyn and will be in theaters on September 29th.
Accompanying the movie are numerous sermons by such leaders at Johnny Hunt of Woodstock Baptist Church, Michael Catt, Pastor of Sherwood Baptist Church, and Dr. Jay Strack of the Student Leadership Network. You may copy and paste the following links to access these sermons:
1. Evidence of Christian Growth (Johnny Hunt)
2. Overcoming The Grasshopper Syndrome (Dr. Jay Strack)
3. Faith to Face Your Impossibilities (Michael Catt)
4. Hearing God When You’re Hurting (Michael Catt)
5. It’s Always Too Soon to Quit (Michael Catt) URL:
6. What Does It Mean to Live By Faith? (Ron Dunn)
7. Will a Man Serve God for Nothing? (Ron Dunn)
Also, a study curriculum that accompanies the movie may be downloaded at:
Evidence of Christian Growth
Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge; and in your knowledge, self control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness; (2 Peter 1:5-7, NASB)
In these verses is a list of virtues that should be growing in the life of the believer. They are best translated by referring to moral excellence, practical wisdom, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness and unselfish love. When we look at a list like this, and at our lives, our first reaction might be to give up. However, we need to remember that there is a cooperative effort between the believer and his or her God, and He produces these qualities.
So the important question for each of us to ask is this: Are all these qualities growing and evident in my life? Once we place faith in Jesus Christ, our Christian life begins in the knowledge of Him who called us (v. 3) and continues in the knowledge of Jesus and God (vv. 2, 5). It will consummate one day in the full knowledge of the One who makes all these virtues possible (v. 8). Three times he talks about knowledge—how you begin with it, how you continue with it, and its consummation. This passage reminds me that I have divine provisions available to me if I will submit and yield to His challenge of Christian growth.
After the Apostle Peter, inspired by the Spirit of God, gives us two letters, he closes both letters with the last verse and says, “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever, amen.”
With that in mind, let’s talk a little bit this morning about perseverance. For those of us who love the teaching of God’s Word, you can’t mention the word perseverance without just thinking about the beginning, but also moving all the way to the end. I know that perseverance is a biblical truth in the context that it is the proof of my faith.
In 2 Timothy 1:12, Paul told young Timothy, “For this reason I also suffer these things, but I am not ashamed; for I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day.”
I don’t know how long your journey has been. Mine has been 33½ years, and the One who put me in has kept me. The perseverance of the saints. By the way, there’s a great truth you need to know in 2 Timothy 1:12. He said, “I know who I have believed.” He did not say, “I know what I have believed.” I want you to know that I knew who I believed before I knew what I believed. You can know what without knowing who and go to hell when you die. Some people are more wrapped up in what they know about God than the intimacy of knowing Him. It’s an intimate relationship with Him that will cause you to want to tell everybody about Him.
The Apostle John said of those who abandoned the faith: “They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, in order that it might be shown that they all are not of us” (1 John 2:19). I think I’ve got a statement I need all of you to hear. I’m not so sure that there haven’t been times in all of our lives that if we could, we would have left. But every time I tried to leave, He followed me like a hound from heaven. You can’t get away from God. Once you come to know Him, you can’t get away from Him. He gets all over you.