The Results of Growing by Bill Echols (Evangelist)

Growth  Growth #2    imagesCAMTQGVY

Scripture Reference: 2 Peter 1:1-11

Introduction: From the time one is born into the kingdom of God they are to grow (1 Pet 2:2). Each is to grow spiritually strong and knowledgeable enough to teach others (Heb 5:12). What if one does not grow?

I. The results of Not Growing (2 Peter 1:9)

A. The manifestation of growth is pointed out (1:5-8)

1. If we do not grow, we lack these and become spiritually blind. To be such is to have no clear understanding of the nature of the gospel or its requirements and     obligations.

2. The very fact that one does not have these qualities shows one has no eye for them.

B. No growth results in spiritual nearsightedness.

1. Such cannot discern truth from error because his eye is on worldly things. Spiritually short sighted people have only a hazy apprehension of the objects of belief and how they bear on life.

2. They only see they are a member of a religion, but not the life to live as one purged from sin.

C. Such has forgotten he has been forgiven.

1. This forgetfulness is the inevitable result of wilful neglect. Forgetfulness does not cause nearsightedness, but is a part of it. He does not remember the obligations which grew out of being forgiven.

2. Our appreciation of God’s grace should motivate us to greater effort (I John 4:19).

D. The supreme example of this blindness can be seen in Israel.

1. Israel fell when they ceased to grow in knowledge (Hosea 4:2). The answer for them is the same for us (Hosea 4:1). Without knowledge of God there can be only one result (Hosea 4:2).

2. Israel’s tragic story is well summed up (Isa. 5:13).

3. There is no growth without pains, but it has rewards. As the world goes further and further from God, we must be more diligent (II Tim 2:15).

II. The results of Growth (II Peter 1:8)

A. Peter is speaking of the qualities in the verses before (1:5-7). One will never stumble and be granted an abundant entrance into the eternal kingdom (1:10, 11).

B. First, the life of a Christian can never be one of idleness.

1. Even prior to sin Adam had to be active (Gen 2:15). The O.T. is filled with warnings about idleness (Prov 6:6, 10:4).

2. Idleness is not natural, it is learned (I Tim 5:13). The early church was told to discipline the idle (II Thess 3:6-15).

3. Being a Christian is a vocation of sweet labor (Mt. 21:28). We were recreated spiritually for good works (Eph 2:10).  Faith divorced from works is profitless, dead, demonic, barren and imperfect

(Jas 2:14-26).

C. Next, fruitfulness is an effect of growth as a Christian.

1. As one pursues the upward way, he is walking in the light of the Spirit’s instructions (Gal 5:16). Then he develops the Fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22, 23).

2. Fruitfulness is connected with winning souls (Prov. 11:30). The principle is clear (Mt 7:17).  Those in union with Christ bear much fruit (John 15:2). We are joined to Christ to bear fruit (Rom 7:14).

D. The third result of growth is prevention of stumbling (II Peter 1:10).

1. God is able to keep His children from stumbling (Jude 24). God prevents our stumbling by means of the strength inherent in the word.

2. It is only when we apply the word and add the qualities that we are assured of not stumbling. One who fails to develop these is blinded and will stumble. Jude stresses our individual responsibility (Jude 20, 21).

E. Finally, the faithful servant will be granted a rich entrance into the eternal kingdom.

1. “Kingdom” is used several ways. The reign of God among Israel was called a kingdom which would be taken away from them and given to another (Mt. 21:43).

2. The Lord’s church, as to its government, is a kingdom (Mt. 16: 18, 19; Col 1:13; Rev 1:5, 6).

3. Also, the final state of the faithful is called a kingdom (II Tim. 4:18). This is the kingdom Peter has in mind as the reward of spiritual growth. It is “richly supplied.”

4. While the entrance is rich, we still enter through tribulation (Acts 14:22). There are tremendous rewards for those who mature and remain steadfast in the faith (I Cor. 15:58).

III. What We Must Do (II Peter 1:10).

A. Those to whom Peter wrote at a fork in the road. They could turn away, fail to add and become spiritually near-sighted. They would then fail. If, they added these characteristics, they would have a heavenly home.

B. Thus Peter exhorts, “Give the more diligence… make your calling and election sure.”

1. Peter had begun his enumeration of these characteristics with an exhortation to diligence (1:5).  Diligence is earnestness, zeal and carefulness. Living for God is serious business.

2. Our calling is made secure through our instrumentality. We play a part in our security. God calls and we respond. God commands and we obey. imagesCAFN5C8C