Summary: As Christians we are to be progressing in our sanctification and in our Christian walk. I hope this sermon helps us to do that.
Growing Up in Grace
Text: 2nd Peter 3:14-18
By: Ken McKinley
Now if you were hoping that we were going to be back in the Book of Genesis this morning, you’re going to have to wait til next Sunday, or maybe even the Sunday after that, as the Lord’s been putting more than a few things on my heart.
Instead, we're going to look at this passage from 2nd Peter this morning.
But before we get into this passage, I want to give you a brief overview of the book so you’ll have an understanding of it in context. In chapter one Peter began by talking about how Christians should be growing in their faith – we see that in verses 5 – 11. Then in verses 12 – 15 he says that he’s wanting to remind his readers of these important truths, because he knows that his time is short. He knows that the persecutions he was enduring and that all Christians were enduring, would eventually catch up to even him, and that he would be put to death because of the faith.
HE then concludes chapter one by talking about the trustworthiness of God’s Word. In chapter two; Peter begins his warnings. Back then, just like today, there were men and women going around and perverting the Gospel… we talked a little bit about that last Sunday evening in our study of the Book of Galatians. So Peter says, “There have always been and there always will be ‘false prophets’ who will bring in destructive heresies… and people are going to follow them.” But Peter is warning his readers, and us as well, to be on our guard against this sort of thing. And then the rest of chapter two is devoted to how these false prophets and false teachers… how these wolves in sheeps clothing will get what’s coming to them.
Chapter 3; he begins by talking about how God is not slack concerning His promises, specifically in regards to the 2nd Coming of Christ. And he does a bit of teaching on that subject, and then finally we come to our text. And in our text, what we have is Peter wrapping up his letter with a bit of helpful instruction to us as Christians. And in verse 14 we see those words, “Therefore.” What this is; is logical reasoning. In-other-words, what Peter’s saying here is, because of all of these things I’ve just said to you, you ought to be doing this. And the “this” that we ought to be doing, is being diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot or blemish.
To be diligent, means to make every effort. This is the responsibility of every believer. It is your responsibility and mine, and everyone who would name the name of Christ, to exert ourselves in Christian conduct. Now let me explain this. It’s not saying we are saved by works. It’s not saying we keep ourselves saved by works. The bible is clear, over and over again, it’s clear – that we are saved by grace through faith, that’s Ephesians 2:8-9. And we are kept by the power of God. But what Peter is saying here is the rest of that section in Ephesians 2… Peter’s saying Ephesians 2:10 in his own way. Ephesians 2:8, 9 and 10 say, “For by grace you have been saved, through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”
And so this isn’t a call for ethical activity. It isn’t a call for believers to pull themselves up by their boot straps and maintain their salvation. It’s not a call to busy work. No… it’s a call to progress in the sanctification that should be evident in all believers.
Turn with me to Philippians 2:12-13 (Read). Now I want you to notice something about that passage… or a couple of things. First of all, we are to work OUT our own salvation, not work FOR our own salvation. We work it out in a tangible way through our lives, then notice verse 13 – For it is GOD who works IN YOU both to WILL and to DO for His good pleasure.
Think about that for a minute. How is it that a person who is dead in trespasses and sin, comes to choose God. How is that when there are none who are righteous, no not one, when there are none who understand, when there are none who seek after God… how is it that such people as this can at some point in time choose to believe in God and receive Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior? How can such people to whom the message of the cross is foolishness, or a stumbling block, embrace that message? How can we be made right with God, when our free will which is controlled by our sinful nature and is at enmity with God? Well Philippians 12:13 tells us how. It is God who works in you, both TO WILL (that’s to chose Him) and to DO (that’s to believe and to have works of faith and sanctification). GOD HAS DONE IT and we are to actively be working it out in our lives. And so we should ask ourselves; are we making any progress towards righteousness? Or are we coasting along? Are we, as David Platt says, choosing comfort over the cross?