This sermon addresses four key aspects of spiritual growth based on 2 Peter 1:3-9: you are equipped to grow, enabled to grow, you must make every effort to grow, and the impact of your growth.
You are a part of a young church. This October we will turn seven years old. When we started in 2015, we believe God gave us a vision and mission that includes five aspects.
- Genesis Church has a vision to see people saved. We believe we are to reach out to those without Christ and to share the gospel of Jesus Christ giving them an opportunity to experience the saving power our Heavenly Father. We want to be committed to evangelism.
- Genesis Church has a vision to see people love others. We want to be a church who knows how to care. We want to train you on how to love your spouse, your kids, your neighbors, and your enemies. We want you to know what it’s like to have Christian friends who support you, care about you, and encourage you. We want you to understand why it’s important for you to support others, care about others, and encourage others. We want to be a church that is dedicated to true fellowship.
- Genesis Church has a vision to see people grow. We want to see people come to Christ and grow in Christ. We are convinced that God wants you to be a man or woman of God who loves Him and understands His truth. God wants to renew your mind so you think from a heavenly perspective. God wants you to take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ. He wants your actions and reactions to honor Him and those who are in your life. He wants you to be forgiving, patient, full of joy, hope, and faith. He wants your life to make an impact on the lives of others. He wants you to be a follower of Christ and to make followers of Christ. This is what the Bible calls discipleship.
- Genesis Church has a vision to see people sent. We don’t want you to just sit and soak it in, but we also want you to be sent and serve others. We want to help you discover your spiritual gift, your ministry, your purpose and how God created you and wired you for ministry and to bless others. You are here for a reason. You are not an accident. We want to help you discover that purpose and train you for that purpose. This is ministry, this is service.
- Genesis Church has a vision to see people love God. We want to watch you love God. We want you to see the magnificence, glory, power, and greatness of God. We want you to be in awe of how wonderful your heavenly Father is. We want you to have confidence, trust, and faith in His will, His way, and His word. We want your life to be one that praises and honors and enjoys God every day.
That’s our vison. That’s our mission. That’s our purpose. That’s why we exist. We want to help you connect or reconnect with all that.
Today, I want us to focus on our purpose of want to see people grow. To help us do that I want us to focus our attention on 2 Peter 1:3-9.
By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence. 4 And because of his glory and excellence, he has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires. 5 In view of all this, make every effort to respond to God’s promises. Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge, 6 and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness, 7 and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone. 8 The more you grow like this, the more productive and useful you will be in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 But those who fail to develop in this way are shortsighted or blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their old sins. (NLT)
Out of that I want you to see four things about your spiritual growth.
You are equipped to grow
First of all, you are equipped (1 Peter 1:3). When you became a believer God did something incredible in your life. By his divine power, God gave you everything you need to live for Him. You received all of this when you came to know him. Everything you need to live a pleasing life for God you already have as a believer. You have all that you need to do His will and to grow into a mature believer.
When you were born again you were given the Holy Spirit on the inside to guide you, teach you, and lead you in the things of God. You were given a new heart and a new mind. You have everything you need to grow spiritually.
This is similar to when you were born. When you were created you were given a mind that can learn and a heart that can feel. Your DNA and physical structure was designed and given everything it needed to grow. Now, all it will take is time and nourishment. You were built and designed and equipped to grow and get bigger and stronger and smarter. You were given everything you need to mature.
God’s Word is saying the same thing about you spiritually. When you were born again, you were given a new mind and new heart. You were made into a new creation on the inside and that new creation is equipped with everything it needs to grow, get bigger, stronger, and smarter. You were given everything you need to spiritually mature. You are equipped to live a godly life. What you need is time and nourishment to develop and grow.
You are enabled to grow
This brings us to number two, you are enabled to grow (1 Peter 1:4). God makes it possible for you to grow by giving you His Word. The Bible is God’s nourishment and food that enables you to grow. According to verse 4, [God] has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires. Two things:
- One, God’s great and precious promises refers to what He says in His word. Through His Word, God has promised us the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:33; Eph. 1:13), abundant grace (John 10:10; Rom. 5:15, 20; Eph. 1:7), joy (Ps. 132:16; Gal. 5:22), strength (Psalm 18:32; Isa. 40:31), guidance (John 16:13), help (Isa. 41:10, 13-14), instruction (Ps. 32:8; John 14:26), wisdom (Prov. 2:6-8; Eph. 1:17-18, James 1:5), heaven (John 14:1-3; 2 Pet. 3:13), and eternal rewards (1 Tim. 4:8; James 1:12), and so much more. God has given you His Word – His great and precious promises – to enable you to grow.
- Because you have a new mind and a new heart and the Holy Spirit living in you, you can apply God’s Word to your life. When you apply God’s promises to your life, these promises of God enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires. You will begin to experience the person God created you to be and avoid a boatload of heartache caused by sin.
What do we have so far? When you are born again you are equipped and designed to grow spiritually. The way you ignite that growth is through God’s promises, His Word.
You must make an effort to grow
This brings us to number three, you must make an effort to grow (1 Peter 1:5-7). In verse 5 we are told, In view of all this (referring to you being equipped and enabled to grow spiritually) make every effort to respond to God’s promises. You are told to make every effort to apply God’s word.
There is a mistake that most believers make at some time in their life when it comes to spiritual growth. It looks like this, “Lord, I want to grow spiritually. I need wisdom. I need hope. I need more faith. Help me to grow.” Then we wait for God to somehow supernaturally give us growth, wisdom, hope, and faith out of nowhere. Asking God for those things is a good thing, but there is a problem.
The problem goes like this. One day you decided you wanted to get in shape, lose some weight, and start eating right so you can have more energy, more stamina, and be more active. You decided to be healthy. So you go to the local YMCA and you talk to one of the personal trainers. They lay out a terrific strategy that will work. You come back a month later, upset at the trainer and say, “Trainer, I asked you to help me get bigger, faster, and stronger. I asked you to help me to be healthy and nothing has happened in over a month.” The trainer says, “I’m not surprised. I told you to show up at the gym and you never did. I was here waiting for you, but you never showed up. You made no effort to grow, to become healthy. You have everything you need to get healthy. You got me and you got this gym and let it all go to waste.”
That’s how we treat God. We think we have made every effort to grow spiritually because we talk to Him about wanting to grow spiritually, we may even read the Bible a couple of days or attend church a couple of weeks. But in reality, what we really want is God to make us spiritual strong without any effort on our part. It doesn’t work that way. God has equipped you to grow. He has enabled you to grow, but you must put effort into your own personal growth.
Philippians 2:12 says we should “work out our own salvation” (NASB). It doesn’t say “work for your salvation,” but “work out your salvation.” When you go to the gym to work out, you are going in order to develop and strengthen the muscles you already have. Overtime those muscles become more noticeable, your strength is more noticeable, and your stamina is more noticeable. You are able to endure more weight and persevere through longer workouts. You find yourself not getting as tired as quick and you also notice you recover quicker.
So, when God says “work out your own salvation” He is saying work out the salvation you already have. As you work out spiritually your salvation muscles will become more noticeable. Overtime, you and others will notice you are able to endure more and persevere more when the weight of the world tries to crush you. When you do get knocked down you find yourself getting up quicker. You recover faster. Because year after year you have been working out your salvation.
Peter says, make every effort to respond to God’s promises. Paul says, “work out your own salvation.” They both are saying the same thing. However, Peter tells us exactly what to work on. He says in verse 5, Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge, 6 and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness, 7 and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone. He gives us seven spiritual muscles to work on.
- Moral excellence. I am learning to fulfill my purpose. I am learning how to make moral, ethical, and right decisions that honor God and others.
- Knowledge. I am learning to handle life successfully. My knowledge of God, His will and ways are growing. I am operating more and more by His truth rather than my assumptions.
- Self-control. I am learning to stop myself before I hurt myself. I learning how to place a guard over my mouth and emotions. I am more proactive rather than reactive.
- Patient endurance. I am learning to not give up. It takes more and more to make me quit. I am able to wait longer for God to intervene.
- Godliness. I am learning to live for God. I’m thinking about what God would have me to do or not do. I’m thinking more and more about God’s will regarding my life, career, money, and relationships.
- Brotherly affection. I am learning to care for others, especially other believers. I am having more and more affection for my brothers and sisters in God’s family. I want to help them, encourage them, and pray for them.
- Love. I am learning to sacrifice for others. My love is not simply emotional. I’m getting stronger at loving even my enemies and those who hurt me.
You are equipped to grow. You are enabled to grow. You are to make every effort to grow.
Your growth will be effective
Fourth, you will be effective (1 Peter 1:8-9). Look at what we are told in verse 8, The more you grow like this, the more productive and useful you will be in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. There are some believers who have knowledge of the Lord Jesus. They are saved, but they have not worked out their salvation. They don’t have a lot of spiritual muscle. They don’t know what their purpose is, they don’t handle life well, they say things and do things that are hurtful, they give up to quick, they don’t think about God and His ways much, they don’t really care about others and nor do they sacrifice much for anyone. Their life is not very productive or useful.
But on the other hand, you have believers who over time have become stronger. They have been working out their salvation. They have made every effort to respond to God’s promises. As a result they know why they exist, they make more good decisions than bad ones, they are led by the Spirit rather than their emotions, it takes a lot to make them quit, they filter their life through what pleases God and His will for their life, they display compassion, concern, and care for others, and they regularly sacrifice their time, money, and plans for others. Because of all this, their lives are productive and useful in the kingdom of God.
One of our purposes is to see people to grow spiritually. Our mission is to help you become mature and solid in your walk with God. This is why we provide Bibles for free, Bible reading plans, Life Groups, Discipleship Groups, and Sunday morning services to name a few.
I want to challenge you to make every effort to grow spiritually. Make reading and studying the Bible a priority. Make every effort to prioritize attending church. Take notes during the sermon. Think about what you hear and how to apply it to your life. Make every effort to be a part of a Life Group to talk about God’s Word and what it means for daily life.