I. The Audience Peter is Talking To
A. Two Letters (Epistles) written by the Apostle Peter
1. First Peter is all about encouragement, in the trials (1Pet 1:6-8)
2. Second Peter is about staying on track in spite of so many pressures and temptations
B. People needed to know how to go on and grow without Peter being around – he was leaving (2Pet 1:14,15) – our growth is not to be dependant upon people, or upon miracles, or upon good days and sunshine – but rather on truth, and the presence of the Lord Jesus in your life!
C. God orders our steps (lays them out ahead of us in the Scriptures), and expects us to take those steps. Not an option!
D. God gave us three things to make sure we continue growing: His Word, His Holy Spirit, and His local Church – we need each other!
E. The audience is believers
1. “Obtained like precious faith” – same faith as Peter and John had
2. People who had the righteousness of God and Jesus Christ!
F. Peter was concerned that Christians would know some things (2)
1. That God has given to us “all things that pertain to life and godliness” just because we know somebody – Jesus!
2. That God has promised us PRECIOUS (rare) promises
3. That we would be like Jesus – “partaker of the divine (God) nature”
4. Now that you have been made free (escaped) the ruin in this world
II. The Task (1:5) – what God is commanding us to do
A. Look at the Christian’s responsibility! “Giving all diligence” means for you, and you, and YOU to work very hard at adding these things to your life. Not easy! But necessary!
B. Christian growth is more about ADDING things to our life than just doing more things. The world wants to block-out God, and subtract things from our lives, but God has made available some things that if we would just add them to our way of thinking, and our way of living, we would be successful (bear fruit, and prosper) as Christians!
C. Constantly adding is going to be the key – like adding healthy foods to your diet in order to grow. Can’t just eat an apple once, and expect to be healthy for the next six weeks – you have to add lots of fruit to your diet, and add lots of vegetables, and add lots of exercise, and add lots of laughter, and so on, to be healthy! Amen!?
III. The Staring Point – Level Ground – where do we begin?
A. We all start as sinners, lost, separated from God, doomed, law-breakers, enslaved by Satan, destined for hell
B. Then one day, we found out about forgiveness, and the righteousness of God that was available to us because of Jesus Christ
C. That’s the day a sinner like me, like you, by simple, child-like faith accepted what Jesus did on the cross as enough to save your soul, forgive you of your sins, and make you a child of almighty God!
D. THAT is where every believer begins – not at baptism, or in confirmation, or with good works, or according to what country you were born in, or what religion your parents were!
IV. The Steps to Take – addition, integration of Biblical things into your life
A. Here is a great truth:
1. Salvation is a free gift received by faith
2. Spiritual Growth is a process, experienced by diligent and hard work
B. There are Eight steps for every Christian to take – not all at once
1. Faith is believing God as He promised in His word – increase it!
2. Virtue is the inner strength to do right
3. Knowledge is personally knowing something to be true, not just accepting it as true
4. Temperance is submitting your self to God’s will and God’s Holy Spirit (allowing someone else to control your life)
5. Patience is the ability to go through troubles without complaining
6. Godliness is living and thinking like Jesus did
7. Brotherly Kindness is loving believers like family
8. Charity is living completely unselfishly
C. Each one of the above items affect different things in our lives – they each have a different affect on different areas of our life
1. Faith is directed towards God and pleases God
2. Virtue is directed towards sin, and resists temptation
3. Knowledge is directed towards our problems and the uncertainty in handling those problems
4. Temperance is directed towards self
5. Patience is directed towards the promises of God
6. Godliness is directed towards the world
7. Brotherly Kindness is directed towards believers
8. Charity is directed towards everyone!
V. The Goal (2Pet 1:8-11)
A. To be fruitful (John 15:8), successful in your Christian life!
2Peter 1:1-11 is the formula for being a success as a Christian: Bearing fruit, being useful to God, honouring God by your life, laying up treasures in heaven, being steadfast, having inner stability, being confident and unashamed, and ultimately, receiving praise in heaven one day (2Pet 1:11)
B. To stand instead of constantly falling (Ephesians 6:11,13)
1. Jesus Christ DIED and rose again to make godly MEN out of you men
2. Jesus Christ DIED and rose again to make godly WOMEN out of you ladies
3. Ask yourself, “Am I more like Jesus today, or more like the world around me?”
4. If you are backsliding, and weakening, then THIS is the programme for you
5. As a matter of fact, the only way NOT to backslide, is to go forward and constantly, consistently grow!
6. Your “calling and election”(2Pet 2:10) is knowing God’s perfect will and plan for your life – YOU have the responsibility to make it sure and steadfast so you don’t fall; so you don’t mess-up; so you don’t wimp-out in the battles of life! Like a cliff-climber: make each bracket firm and sure!!!
C. To hear “Well done!” at your entrance into heaven (Matthew 25:21)
VI. The Dangers of Stagnation – staying in one place too long
A. Success is Conditional
1. Give all diligence (2Pet 1:5)
2. “IF… these abound…”
B. It is impossible to stay in one place – you will either …
2. Or, Press forward
C. No growth means… (1:8-11)
1. You lose sight – spiritual awareness
2. You lose memory – forgetting spiritual victories
3. You lose progress – constantly fall back
4. You lose heavenly rewards
D. Becoming “barren”, “unfruitful” – that’s when a Christian is useless to God
E. The apostle Paul feared very few things, but one of them was becoming useless to God (1Cor 9:27)
F. Christians are called to “follow Christ” not retire, or go on holiday, or drag your feet – that is when the devil starts his attack (like when a lion stalks a herd, he focuses on the ones that are not with the herd, or are weak, or are independent, etc)!
G. This is a day when many errors are blowing about the church and much falsehood is attacking the cause of Christ. Peter says, “Beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith.” So, the Christian life then must be lived with diligence.
H. Young people may not know what the word 'diligence' means. It means to NOT just “go with the flow!”
1. Many people simply float along with the stream. It is so easy to do because, if that is the way the current is going, then all they need to do is bob along with everything else that is floating down the stream. No hassles, right?
2. Some churches and some Christians, for a long time have been going in that way: bobbing along with the “river of life.” The tide or the stream is taking them out, and they are headed for disaster.
3. In order to go against the stream and against the tide, others will have to work very hard to keep their souls and minds in a right frame and attitude, if they are going to hold their ground and even make progress against the stream and against the tide of this modern world. These are the people who will gain the true blessing of God in the end.
I. Peter saw this scenario in his day. You and I, unless we are blind, must see it today. The choice therefore is between drifting with the stream, and with the current, and with the tide on the one hand or going against it, in order to maintain high Biblical values, and in order to hear a hearty “well done” from our Lord in the end!
VII. Lesson Plan
A. The following nine lessons will help every person grow spiritually – guaranteed!
B. One lesson will be covered each week starting with today’s lesson on Faith
C. Keep this Lesson Series Booklet, and take notes in it - you will find yourself referring back to it for years to come because its truths are from the Bible, and therefore, are eternal!
Bible Baptist Church, Ballincollig, Ireland