Summary: This is a sermon on how Peter encourages us to be more godly.
February 15, 2004 2 Peter 1:2-11
Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. 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. 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. For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. 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. But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins. Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Every time we take our children to the doctor, their height and weight is taken in order to determine where they are on the growth chart. The growth chart has been developed as a comparison chart so you know where your child compares to the rest of the children in America. After your children are measured, you are then told whether your child is in the 50th percentile, etc. For some reason most parents take pride in big kids and are eager to tell others if their kids are “off the charts” in percentile. I guess we associate bigness with healthiness. It is also a sign for the doctors to know something might be wrong when the child is behind on the growth chart - that he or she might not be being fed properly.
It would be nice if God would provide us with a growth chart for Christians. If on my every member visits I could have you stand on a spiritual scale and then prescribe certain spiritual exercises, life would be easy. Unfortunately, spirituality is a tough thing to measure. But there are some signs of it - some gauges to determine where we are in our growth factor. When I look at my kids, I can determine their spirituality by the way they get along together and the way they respond to me as their parent. I can have some sort of a measurement on their growth by how excited they are to go to church or how many Bible passages they know. It’s not an exact science, but there are signs of growth or a lack thereof.
The same goes with you, as adults. When, as your pastor, I see more members coming to Bible class and worship, or members coming more regularly - this is a good sign to me of growth. When you answer more questions in Bible class correctly, this is a good sign. But what gets discouraging is when I see members who have been going to church for years still resorting to slander, still being hot-tempered, or still believing things that are obviously against what they were taught. It is discouraging to me to see my people often living life in a pessimistic depression and despair. I expect to see growth, and yet all too often I see Christians who are content to stay right where they are instead of actively seeking how they can grow in their Christianity.
Peter had one main goal for Christians - that they would participate in the divine nature. In other words, Christianity and faith to him wasn’t just a word or a confession. It wasn’t just like a hat you put on for one hour a week and then took off for the rest of the week. It wasn’t just like a shirt that covers your skin and jazzes up your appearance on the outside. Faith was meant to permeate the very nature of who you are - so that God becomes a part of your heart, your soul, your mind, your tongue, your fingers, and your inner being. That’s what he wanted for his fellow Christians - that they would actively participate in the divine nature - that God would really permeate their every being. In reality, that’s what Christianity is - it’s an intrusive religion. God is not just a word - or a concept of a being somewhere out there. Christianity involves a God who directs the past and future of the world and permeates every living being whether they like it or not. God doesn’t just ask for your finger or your mouth - He demands your every being. That’s too intrusive for many. They’d rather make God into an after supper delicatessen instead of the main dish of their lives. That’s not God’s design for us - and it never was. Peter’s encouragement to us today is to