2 Peter 1: 8 – 11
As I look back at our texts last week I cannot help but add more input on what I have written. Well, reading God’s Word is like that. The more you read the more you understand, the more you understand, the wiser you become, and God’s Word becomes more meaningful. The seven characteristics of a godly life points to Christian’s spiritual growth, maturity, holiness, which the end result is Christlikeness. Now we focus on the practical or positive results of growing spiritually and living a holy life.
I. Fruitfulness (2 Pet. 18)
A. Every Christian will bear spiritual fruit and that means all born again Christian will be fruitful or will show fruit bearing as time goes by.
B. A person who claims to be a born again Christian but never bear any fruit is a not a real Christian, he is a fraud, he is without faith, and therefore not saved.
C. The Word of God is very clear in Galatian 5:22-23 about the fruit of the Spirit.
D. The seven characteristics of godly life we talked about last week was a clear indication of a fruit bearing life.
E. We are not saved by works but good work is a product of salvation. Paul mentions in Colossians 1:10 of being “fruitful in every good work”. As we live a life of good works we produce fruit.
F. We bear fruit by our sacrifice of praise to God (Heb. 13:15). We should praise God continually.
G. We bear fruit when we become faithful giver. Paul designated the collection of money for the poorer saints in Jerusalem as fruit (Romans 15:28). When he thanked the Philippians for their financial support of his ministry, he said that their act of giving brought fruit to their account (Philippians 4:17).
H. Soul winning and witnessing is another proof of fruitfulness or bearing fruit.
I. Unfruitful means useless or unproductive. Carnal Christians are unfruitful and useless. They produce no fruit.
J. Unfruitfulness will result in:
1. Master’s disappointment. Lk. 13:6
2. Chastening. Jn. 15:2
3. Loss of rewards.
Illustration: A Responsibility
Even though we may have a hard time sharing our faith and, yes, some people have a gift for sharing, the Bible clearly indicates that evangelism is for everyone; in fact, it is considered to be a fruit of the Spirit! Most of us associate the fruit of the Spirit with Galatians 5:22-23, where Paul describes fruit as godly character. But Paul indicates that fruit also involves leading unbelievers to Christ (Romans 1:13, 1 Corinthians 16:15, Colossians 1:6).
Considering that Jesus called us to produce lasting fruit (John 15:16), that we glorify God by being fruitful (John 15:8; Colossians 1:10), and that God despises unfruitfulness (Matthew 21:10, 43), Christians cannot relegate the activity of evangelism to a group of “specialists.” Everyone is challenged to be prepared in and out of season to preach the Word (2 Timothy 4:2) as well as to give an answer to everyone who asks us for the hope we have (1 Peter 3:15).
The responsibility for evangelism, then, is for all believers who are instructed to bear fruit and are challenged to be prepared. It is not an issue of personality type, nor should it be an issue of personal comfort. It is an issue of obedience.
II. Vision (2 Pet. 1:9)
A. Those who are not saved are spiritually blind. (2 Cor. 4:3-4)
B. Born again Christian’s eyes are “open” in the sense that they can see spiritual truth. (Mat. 13:14-16)
C. The unsaved says “to see is to believe”. For us who are saved we say “believe first and you will see”.
D. Most of the saved now including the one whom Peter addressed in his first epistle were people that had not personally seen the Lord Jesus. Yet they had heard of his character, his preaching, his sacrifice for sin, and his resurrection and ascension, and they had learned to love him. (1 Pet. 1:8).
E. It is possible to love one whom we have not seen. Thus we may love God, whom no “eye hath seen,” (1 Jn. 4:20) and thus we may love a supporter, from whom we have received important benefits, whom we have never seen.
F. Spiritual vision are given at the time of conversion, and spiritual enlightment continues to take place through the ministry of the Holy Spirit in our life.
G. Those “who cannot see afar off” are termed “short sighted or “near sighted”. In spiritual context it means people who have limited or short spiritual understanding. They only see the present, the temporal not the eternal.
H. Sad to see that Christianity is filled with blind churches that are barren and unfruitful. They refuse to do soul winning.
I. Some Christians see only their own church, or their own denomination. They fail to see the greatness of God’s family around the world. Some believers see the needs at home but have no vision for a lost world. Jesus told His disciples, “Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest” (John 4:35).
J. Through the blood of Jesus Christ we have been purged and forgiven! God has opened our eyes! Let’s not forget what He has done! Rather, let’s cultivate gratitude in our hearts and sharpen our spiritual vision. Life is too brief we need to share the gospel to the regions beyond.
The captain of the Titanic refused to believe the ship was in trouble till water was ankle deep in the mail room. Only then was it apparent the multi-layered hull had been pierced and the unsinkable ship was going to sink. Ships that could have arrived before the great ocean liner went down weren’t summoned until it was too late. The captain was too blind to see the truth.
III. Assurance and Security ( 2 Pet. 1:10-11)
A. A real Christian is saved (Jn. 3:16, 36) and is secure in Christ. (Jn. 10:28,29)
B. New Testament always uses the word “call” to describe our heavenly calling. It is a holy calling (2 Tim. 1:9). It is an invitation by God to us to accept the salvation and its benefits.
C. We are called through by means of the gospel. (2 Thess. 2:13-14).
D. Election refers to “eternal election” (Eph. 1:4, 1 Pet. 1:2). It describes our “selection” by God or the result of being “picking out” by the Lord.
E. Peter is telling us to “make your calling and election sure”. As far as the scriptures is concerned, our calling and election are from God and they are without repentance. God’s calling or selecting you is sure. It is irreversible or irrevocable. (Rom. 8:29-30, Rom. 11:29).
F. If we continue to pursue the seven spiritual characteristics mentioned last week, our spiritual fruit becomes the guarantee that we really are “called and elected” by God to salvation.
G. We have to live in such a way that everyone who comes in contact with us knows that we have a real relationship with God.
H. This requires diligence on our part. We must be zealous. We must make every effort to build the seven characters into our lives.
I. Peter pointed out that “calling” and “election” go together. The same God who elects, His people also ordains the means to call them. The two must go together, as Paul wrote to the Thessalonians: “God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation…. Whereunto He called you by our Gospel” (2 Thess. 2:13-14).
J. We do not preach election to unsaved people; we preach the Gospel. But God uses that Gospel to call sinners to repentance, and then those sinners discover that they were chosen by God!
Illustration: Chosen by God
The idea of election goes back to Abraham (Gen. 12:1-3). God chose to make a nation of that patriarch’s descendants. He chose Israel to be his people. He worked his purposes out through that one nation and in due course sent his Messiah as a Jew. After that, God continued to choose, or elect, people in accordance with his purpose (Rom. 9:11), grace (Rom. 11:5), love (1 Thess. 1:4), and foreknowledge (1 Pet. 1:2). The “elect” can rely on God’s concern for them (Luke 18:7) and on their sure salvation (Rom. 8:33). They are to live lives befitting their status (Col. 3:12-14). Mystery is inherent in the concept of election, because we also know that God desires the salvation of all persons (1 Tim. 2:4).
Illustration: Know Your Election
Many people want to know their election before they look to Christ. But they cannot learn it thus; it is only to be discovered by ‘looking unto Jesus.’ Look to Jesus, believe on Him, and you shall make proof of your election directly, for as surely as you believe, you are elect. If you will give yourself wholly up to Christ and trust Him, then you are one of God’s chosen ones. Go to Jesus just as you are. Go straight to Christ, hide in His wounds, and you shall know your election.
Christ was at the everlasting council. He can tell you whether you were chosen or not, but you cannot find out in any other way. Go and put your trust in Him. There will be no doubt about His having chosen you, when you have chosen Him. – Charles Spurgeon
Are you a fruitful Christian? Do you understand spiritual things, believing even without seeing? Do you know whether you have been called or elected by God? If your answer is no, then come to Christ, believe on Him, trust Him. If you choose Him, it’s the best choice you have ever made.