Summary: Add on to Faith
IT IS TO SOON TO QUIT SO WE NEED TO ADD TO OUR FAITH PERSEVERANCE
2 PT 1:5-7
Maybe not many of us here remember Gracie Allen. She was a comedian with her husband George in early TV land. There is true story about her that I would like for us to hear that leads us into our next add to faith characteristic. She was known for pulling pranks on people and people doing the same to her. One day as she was getting ready for work she received a small box with a baby alligator inside it. She was not sure just what to do so she put it in the bathtub and walked out the door. When she came home from work that she found a note from her maid. “Dear Mrs. Allen, I quit. I don’t work in no house with an alligator. I should have told you this when I started. I just thought it would never come up.”
All of us have had thoughts about quitting at home, at work, at church, at marriage or even life with an alligator. It seems there are some you have prayed over for years and are weary because it seems to do little good. You have tried to control your thought life by making it captive to Jesus Christ yet you find your mind on thoughts of doubt, unbelief, gossip or even hate. You have been at work in the church and it seems that the forces of evil have become greater even though you have given yourself in a great way to live a righteous life. So your thoughts at time have been to say, “I quit.” I am not going on if there is an alligator. Peter’s alligator perhaps was an uncontrollable mouth. He was one of the twelve chosen by Jesus to follow Him. He was one of the inner three that Jesus spent time with more than the others. From his mouth came three denials that he even knew Christ. If we were in his shoes we could have said I quit. He did not quit and tells us, “Add to your faith, Perseverance. Add to your faith goodness and to goodness knowledge and to knowledge self-control and now Perseverance. He is telling don’t quit, it is always too soon to quit. The word from the Greek in our day today means stand your ground. Keep your place. Stick with it. If set backs come do not let that stop you from your mission from God. This word is like telling a soldier to hold his position. You have heard stories of this kind that helped us win wars. One man or a group would not give up until they were relived or lost their lives and because of their courage they gave to others an opportunity for victory. The two times I have been told that men are tempted to give in are when nothing seems to be happening and boredom sets in. The other is when it seems the enemy has the upper hand and you are sure to lose. Peter says you need to stand your ground. Alligators or not it is to son to quit.
Peter has urged us to be good. He has told us to gain knowledge. He has let us know we need self-control. We are at the center of our add-ons. We are only half way and there is still a journey. May we see here the Christian life is a journey and not a destination? We cannot stop. We have a work to do for Christ. Peter says this morning “Don’t quit. It is too soon to quit. Hold your ground. Help is always available. The people Peter is writing too have a reason to quit in the conditions they have to live with. They seem to have more than their share of alligators. They have faced hardships, setbacks and sicknesses. They had said yes to God. It cost them something to follow after Christ. Others around them were hostile to them. Others did not understand why they would follow a person who had died on a cross. Why would they not worship their idols which they believed brought them good crops and healthy families? Peter uses the word suffering 17 times in his first letter as a way that the Christian would live. We think if one is suffering as a Christian that they have done something wrong. If you are poor it is because you do not know how to handle money. If you do not have a good job you need to look elsewhere. We are not given to persevere but to give up easy for life should not be rough.
So take the easy road and quit. Quit obeying God if it puts you at odds with others at work or even in the church. You do not have to go to church. You do not have to walk a holy life. You do not have to believe that Jesus is coming back again. Just quit and the pain will go away. Just say, “I never knew him,” and everyone will leave you alone. This is what Peter had gone through. But Peter says don’t quit, persevere.