Summary: What is the main teaching of the Bible? What is the main thing we ought to be conveying? "Jesus Christ and Him crucified."
Father in heaven, at your right hand are eternal pleasures, and in your presence is fullness of joy. Help us now as we look into your Word to remain in Your presence. Oh God we know that You actively seek people to worship You, help us then to see in Your Word that which will draw worship out of our hearts. In Jesus’ Name.
Let’s open our Bibles to the book of 2 peter chapter 1. 2 Peter 1 will give us our introduction for today. Peter is writing to Christians here and he tells them of their resources in Christ and of their responsibility in Christ. Their resources are in verses 3-4 and their responsibility is in verses 5-9. So let’s read of the Christian’s resources and the Christian’s responsibility.
3 His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness 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 and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. 5 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7 and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. 8 For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins. 2 Peter 1:3-9
This list of Christian virtue begins with faith and it ends with love. Faith is the beginning, love is the goal. But it also tells us that we are to be constantly adding Christian character to our lives. We are to be growing in Christ-likeness, increasing in knowledge and virtue, and changing into the image of Jesus Christ. Since the last time we met, you and I should have grown in knowledge and love of God and each other, we should have added goodness to our lives, and knowledge and self-control, etc. we should have changed some in good ways. That’s what the Christian life is about. Notice the first part of verse 8, we are to possess these qualities in increasing measure.
But there is something listed here that will bring our growth to a screeching halt. There is something so serious here that if we miss it we are stopped in our tracks. So what is it that brings a person’s growth to a halt? Look at the end of verse 9: “he has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins.” He has forgotten his forgiveness; in other words, he has gotten his eyes off of the cross, and anyone, let me say it again, anyone who gets their eyes off of the cross becomes spiritually blind. That is what it says in verse 9. We get near-sighted, meaning we can’t see past our nose, we become self-centered; we’ve lost sight of the cross so we’ve lost sight, and our growth comes to a screeching halt, and we no longer fulfill our responsibility to grow.
And so let’s just state this positively for a second. What is it that will encourage our growth, what enables us to add to our faith goodness, and knowledge and self-control and brotherly kindness and love? It is focusing on the cross, it is remembering that we are forgiven because He was forsaken, that we are cleansed from our sins because Jesus was crucified for them. That, friends, that is what encourages growth in the Lord, that is what takes people from faith to love. That is what grows a church in love. Let us never be in danger of becoming near-sighted and blind, that is losing sight of the benefits that come to us through the cross.
The reason I mention this to you is because we have come to a passage in the gospel of John where Jesus states that He is the subject of Moses’ writing. All through the Old Testament there is the one subject, Jesus Christ and Him crucified. Why? Because we are prone to forget our forgiveness, and then our responsibility to grow comes to a screeching halt. And one of the reasons Moses wrote about Jesus so often is that you and I might see Him and grow in love with Him and want to be like Him.
So let’s look at John chapter 5 together. As your turning, I want to tell you about a young man had been preaching in the presence of an old minister and after he was done he went to the old minister, and said, "What do you think of my sermon?" "Ah,” said the old minister, “it was a very poor sermon indeed.” "A poor sermon?" said the young man, "it took me a long time to study it." "Ah, no doubt it did." "Why? Did you not think my explanation of the text was very good?" "Oh, yes," said the old preacher, "very good indeed." "Well, then, why do you say it is a poor sermon? Didn’t you think the metaphors were appropriate and the arguments conclusive?" "Yes, they were very good as far as that goes, but still it was a very poor sermon." "Will you tell me why you think it a poor sermon?" "Because," the old man said, "there was no Christ in it." "Well," said the young man, "Christ was not in the text; we are not to be preaching Christ always, we must preach what is in the text." So the old man said, "Don’t you know young man that from every town, and every village in England, that there is a road leading to London?" "Yes," said the young man. "Ah!" "and so from every text in Scripture, there is a road to the metropolis, that is, to Christ. And my dear brother, when you get to any text, your business is to say, ’Now where is the road to Christ?’ and then preach your sermon, running along that road towards the great metropolis—Jesus Christ. And," he said, "I have never yet found a text that did not have a road to Christ in it, and if I ever do find one that does not have a road to Christ in it, I will make one; I will go over hedge and ditch and mountain, but I have got to get to my Master, for the sermon cannot do any good unless there is a savor of Jesus in it." (The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, Sermon 242)