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Increasing in Abundance [3-24-24]




March 24, 2024

2 Peter 1:5-11

“Increasing in Abundance”


We know this is a wicked and fallen world. It can have a corrupting effect on our lives. We ended last week’s message with the affirmation that because it is Jesus who holds on to us, we can reflect Christian virtues to a world of sin. In Christ, we have been given the privilege to be different from those who don’t know Jesus as Lord and Savior.


Let’s pick things up with 2 Peter 1:5-11:

For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 

A slight pause after these verses to remember how they intersect with Paul’s list of virtues in Galatians 5:22-23. These are the Christian character qualities we’ve been given the privilege, through Christ, to uphold and live out of.


Now back to the rest of the verses:

For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins. Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.


Eventually, our focus is going to be on verse 10:

Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall.

In other words, as we’ll see, God calls us, God gives us faith, God holds us, 

and God gives us the wherewithal to live out of these virtues. “Confirm your calling and election,” Peter says.


Here’s the astounding implication of that. As Martyn Lloyd-Jones once observed:

“The Christian is not a good person. The Christian is a vile wretch that has been saved by the grace of God.”

That’s exactly the point of verse ten. Our salvation is all the work of God. Our security is all the work of God. In Christ, we have been assured of a place in heaven. And through the power of Christ, we will produce an abundance of good works. Amen?


So let’s now fill in some spaces.


Verse eight says, “For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” We’ve already talked about what those qualities are. The point is, as more and more of us live out of more and more of these virtues, health spreads throughout the body of Christ.

Think of it like healthy antibodies. What’s the worst thing for any organism or organization? Toxicity. Infection. What problem was 2 Peter addressing? The same as Jude. False teachers. False teaching. Toxic people. When we abound in God-powered virtues, we add healthy antibodies to what is or could become diseased. {Check out this short clip…}


Here, in verse eight, God is calling us to be a healthy presence in our little corner of His world. That’s what we do in our homes…in our church…and in the places we live and breathe and make our way in life. In fact, the word in verse eight translated “increasing” means abounding. It suggests an increase to the point of excess. There’s a lot of things you can have or do in life which is/are not good when taken to excess. But not so with these virtues. The best way to fight wickedness is with an increase in moral character.


But here’s what happens. Verse nine says that some people doubt their salvation. “For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind.” That’s why understanding election is so important. Since our salvation is wholly dependent on God, it is He who holds onto us. As Jesus said, he does not lose a single one God has given to him. We cannot lose our salvation. Therefore, we have this huge assurance that we will always be sinners saved by the blood of Jesus Christ. As Charles Spurgeon once wrote:

"I am one of his elect. I am chosen of God and precious; and though the world cast me out, I fear not."

There you have it. We will not be blind to what God has done for us in Christ. And we won’t let anything of this world blind us to what Christ has done for us.


Those of us who need corrective lenses clearly understand verse nine. We would miss so much without glasses or contact lenses.


I first got glasses back when I was in fourth grade. This was before people were so diligent about vision deficiencies, especially in young kids. I was always squinting. My parents would get at me for squinting so much. “Richard, stop squinting. It’s a bad habit.” “Richard, don’t sit so close to the TV, it’s not good for your eyes.” I think that’s when I first understood irony. Anyway, I got all kinds of sensitive stuff like that. My mom finally took me to have my eyes checked. The best I can remember is it was between 20/100 and 20/200. Pretty, pretty, pretty bad.


When I got my first glasses…stylish Buddy Holly frames…the ladies         swooned…I and walked around outside and kept exclaiming how I could finally see how beautiful the trees and bushes and flowers were. My mom cried a wee bit, realizing how long I had gone without seeing. It was okay. I was just happy to see clearly. No use dwelling on the past. That was another important lesson to learn. It’s amazing the things God teaches us in all kinds of situations and circumstances.


Here's the connection with verse nine.


It is speculated that sightings of odd or mythical creatures, like Yetis or Loch Ness monsters or Big Foot {Feets}, arose during a time when corrective lenses weren’t yet invented. So someone saw something but they were like many of us nearsighted people. And something mis-seen turned into a legend. It’s a theory that makes sense.


That’s exactly the point of verse nine. Because of false teaching or trials or temptations, we lose focus. The truth gets blurred. And we either fail to see what’s real or lose sight of what’s true.


Remember who you are and whose you are. As verse ten says, “Be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election.” Stick to the path. Don’t veer off course. Keep your eyes clearly focused on the cross.


Here’s the thing. Satan wants you to doubt your salvation. He wants you to lose sight of the truth that Jesus died on the cross for your forgiveness. He doesn’t want you to see clearly. I’m thinking here of that great old classic by reggae artist Jimmy Cliff, “I Can See Clearly Now.” It reads almost like a spiritual song:

I can see clearly now the rain is goneI can see all obstacles in my wayGone are the dark clouds that had me blind

It's gonna be a bright (bright)Bright (bright) sunshiny dayIt's gonna be a bright (bright)Bright (bright) sunshiny day

Oh, yes I can make it now the pain is goneAll of the bad feelings have disappearedHere is that rainbow I've been praying for

It's gonna be a bright (bright)Bright (bright) sunshiny day

look all around, there's nothing but blue skiesLook straight ahead, there's nothing but blue skies


Never doubt how much Jesus Christ loves you. Live out of that promise. As 2 Peter reminds us, be kind, practice self-control, be decent human beings, and love each other. When you are, as verse eight says, abounding in these qualities of Christian character, you are moving away from who you were before you knew you were saved by Jesus’ death on the cross. You have a clear-eyed focus on becoming the person Jesus has called you to be. Here’s something you might want to write down:

OBEDIENCE EQUALS CONVICTION THAT JESUS DIED FOR OUR SINS.

That affirmation closes out the final word in verse eleven:

“For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”

What a promise. Echoing in the background of verse eleven is the opposite 

of that promise. As one writer puts it, “A dreadful end awaits the heretics and their followers” {Gene L. Green}. But not so for us. Entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ awaits us.


Let’s close with a question. Why? Why would God provide a way for us out of sin and darkness and death, into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ? Why? Why does God want us to produce Fruit of the Spirit in our lives?


As always, we turn to Scripture for the answer.


Isaiah 43:25:

“I, I am he    who blots out your transgressions for my own sake,    and I will not remember your sins.”

Does that sound like good news to you? The things from your past that you can’t forget, God can’t remember. Other people will hold onto your wrongdoings. Sometimes they will remind you of them. But our hope isn’t in other people. Our hope is in Jesus Christ. When you’re running around, fretting over horrible things from your past, God doesn’t know what you’re worrying about. As you clearly focus on who Jesus is and what he has done for you, you will produce good fruit in your life, and that’s what God sees. Again, this time in Isaiah 44:22-23:

I have blotted out your transgressions like a cloud    and your sins like mist;return to me, for I have redeemed you.

Sing, O heavens, for the Lord has done it;    shout, O depths of the earth;break forth into singing, O mountains,    O forest, and every tree in it!For the Lord has redeemed Jacob,    and will be glorified in Israel.


Finally, from Isaiah 53:5-11:

But he was pierced for our transgressions;    he was crushed for our iniquities;upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,    and with his wounds we are healed.All we like sheep have gone astray;    we have turned - every one - to his own way;and the Lord has laid on him    the iniquity of us all.

He was oppressed, and he was afflicted,    yet he opened not his mouth;like a lamb that is led to the slaughter,    and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent,    so he opened not his mouth.By oppression and judgment he was taken away;    and as for his generation, who consideredthat he was cut off out of the land of the living,    stricken for the transgression of my people?And they made his grave with the wicked    and with a rich man in his death,although he had done no violence,    and there was no deceit in his mouth.

Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him;    he has put him to grief; when his soul makes an offering for guilt,    he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days;the will of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied;by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant,    make many to be accounted righteous,    and he shall bear their iniquities.


How beautiful is that? Our forgiveness brings God glory.


Make no mistake. We are not saved because of anything in us. We are saved…we have eternal security…we are counted among the elect of God because of who God is. It brings God glory and honor and praise. Amen?


We’ll give Charles Spurgeon the last word:

“IF THE LORD SAVED US BECAUSE OF OUR MERITS, THERE WOULD BE NO HOPE FOR GREAT SINNERS, NOR INDEED FOR ANY ONE; BUT IF HE SAVES US FOR HIS OWN GLORY, THAT HE MAY MAGNIFY HIS GRACE AND HIS MERCY AMONG ALL PEOPLE, THEN NONE NEED DESPAIR.”     


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