Pursuing God Through a Desire for Growth
2 Peter 3:17-18
Peter references the Day of the Lord, knowing that he will return, so be ready. It is a certainty. To counter false teachers who assume the permanence of all things as they are. Focusing on the temporal. It promoted a false freedom from moral restraint. They had Jesus to promote their own agenda. Guard and grow! Healthy progression of who you are in Christ. Evil in the world necessitates that we grow in our faith.
First, there are false beliefs all around us that can challenge our spiritual growth.
You have known this beforehand, forewarned. Warning of 2 Peter 3:15. This is not a new heresy, but it was watered down truth. Isaiah 57:14, remove the stumbling block from my people. Barna and opposing worldviews that have been enticing the church today. Secularism (this material world is all that there is), postmodernism (truth is relative to each person, no universal objective truth), new spirituality (being a spiritual person but not necessarily believing in God), … Christians have embraced these false doctrines. Let no one deceive you.
Second, there exist within every follower of Jesus the need for spiritual growth.
Growth is vital to our survival. Good people are being carried away by deception. They are falling from their secure place. Steadfastness, referring to their foundation, losing their footing on the foundation of Christ. They doubt or ignore the truth. Skepticism and questions arise. Warning – don’t take his grace for granted. Why is every believer so vulnerable? God’s Word is foundational, when we are not in it, we can easily be deceived. The enemy will distract us from, “thus says the Lord.” He will attack my mind and my emotions. This is how he shakes your foundation. Adam and Eve listened to the enemy and stopped believing God. Colossians 2:8, don’t be taken captive by empty philosophies, human tradition, and the oppression of the powers of darkness. John 8:44 tells us the enemy is the father of all lies. We believe something and our emotions get all stirred up. 2 Corinthians 10:5, take every thought captive. The attacks can be personal, (we doubt who we are in Christ). They can be theological (bringing lies to us, the Bible is outdated teaching, there are many ways to God, there are some sins that cannot be forgiven, your lifestyle is ok, and perhaps the worst, that Satan is not real). They can be subtle, (with enough effort you can keep the law, with enough sin you can undo the gospel).
Third, the grace and knowledge of Jesus represents the true measure of one’s spiritual growth.
Meaning, we must know what he did and have deep appreciation for what he did for us. Transformation through the love of Jesus. Grace is infinite. We can’t add or subtract from his grace, yet we are to desire more of his grace. He uses his truth, which is the pure milk of his Word, (1 Peter 2:2). We must increase our knowledge of Jesus, keep growing, exercise due diligence.
You should be where right now? What is holding you back? Paul’s desire was to know more of Christ, forget what is behind, and what does it mean to gain Christ? Desire him like never before. There is no magical neutral. Is it time to return to our spiritual mooring?
- When you were a kid, what was something that you wanted more than anything?
- When you first came to faith in Jesus, what was the desire of your heart that convinced you to start following Christ?
- Ken talked about the Day of the Lord. What is it about this teaching that would motivate Christians to become more Christlike?
- In our telecommunications society, sometimes we encounter a watered-down gospel. When was the last time you realized that someone was promoting an inaccurate gospel and what did you do about it?
- In what ways have you encountered secularism (this material world is all that there is), postmodernism (there is no objective truth, and all expressions of truth are relative), or the new spirituality (people can be “spiritual people” without embracing the one living God)? How did you recognize the false teaching? How have you kept others from falling into this trap?
- When the Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses knock on your door with their false teaching, why are so many Christians persuaded to leave what they have been taught in church for the false beliefs that claim “another testament of Jesus Christ” or that Jesus was only “a” god rather than the one and only living God, second person of the trinity?
- How do we combat teaching that says, “There is no such thing as sin, and therefore no need for a savior”?
- When was a time in your life when you lost your footing on the secure foundation of Christ? What caused you to question or doubt your beliefs?
- In what ways have you ever taken the grace of God for granted?
- What are some lies of the enemy that you have heard or tend to toss around in your mind?
- The point of Ken’s message was to pursue God through a DESIRE for growth. Do you have this desire? Has there been a time in your life where the desire for growth was greater than it is now?
- What do you think about Ken’s 18th century Dutch theologian and his reasons that we don’t grow in faith? … We presume on the grace of God, (he’ll forgive me), we doubt our conversion, we focused on the past rather than the future, we are discouraged at our lack of progress, we are conformed to our culture rather than Christ, we are lazy (influenced by our western culture). Which speaks the loudest to you?