Called (Finding Your God-Given Purpose)

Called To Stand (2 Peter 1:5-11)

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Can you imagine if you were given this hopeful encouragement: “If you practice these qualities you will never fall.” Whose ears to not perk up? Who does not move to the edge of their seat? Who does not become hopeful? What can I do so that I will know that I will never fall? This is exactly what the apostle Peter writes in his second letter.

10 Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. 11 For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. (2 Peter 1:10–11 ESV)

God wants us to have confidence regarding our election. God wants us to know where we stand with him. Our relationship with God is not supposed to be a mystery. We are not left to wonder if we are okay with God or not. God wants each of us to be able to feel the security of being in a relationship with God.  Notice that Peter said in verse 10 that we are able to confirm our calling and election. Our calling and election can be made sure and certain. In fact, Peter wrote at the end of the first letter that we have been called to stand in the grace of God.

By Silvanus, a faithful brother as I regard him, I have written briefly to you, exhorting and declaring that this is the true grace of God. Stand firm in it. (1 Peter 5:12 ESV)

John wrote his first letter so that the readers would believe in the name of the Son of God and you may know that you have eternal life (1 John 5:13). We have a theme this year that we have been called with a purpose. God has given us a purpose that must not be lost in the habits and rituals we often oversimplify God into. God has called us to stand firm in the faith. God has called us confirm our calling and election. To carefully consider the text before us in 2 Peter 1:10, God wants us to know that if we practice these qualities we will never fall. So I hope we are on the edge of our seat wanting to hear what God says is needed so that we will never fall, so that our calling and election is sure. Let us back up and read 2 Peter 1:3-11 and put this declaration in its context.

Faith Needs More (1:5-7)

Because we have these precious and very great promises we are to make every effort to supplement our faith (1:5). Faith needs to be fed. Faith needs to grow. Faith needs our effort. Faith, if it is truly faith, is not stagnant. Faith is not something that is remain the same. The Greek word gives a picture of providing the necessary support. There is a supply line that is needed for faith. Our faith needs support. Our faith needs a supply line for its success and growth. Faith is the foundation but there are qualities that exist that build that faith. What does faith need? What supplies does faith require? Look at verses 5-7.

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. (2 Peter 1:5–7 ESV)

What does our faith need? Our faith needs moral excellence, knowledge, self-control, endurance, godliness, brotherly affection and kindness, and love. I want us to think of faith as the plant and these qualities as the water that makes faith grow. These are the qualities that are the fertilizer for faith. Faith cannot grow without these qualities. I want us to spend a minute considering the opposite concern. What Peter is showing us then is that our faith will be choked out and will wither when we lack moral goodness. The hypocritical life chokes out faith. If we are pretending to be good on Sunday but do not have the practice moral excellence and uprightness during the week, our faith will die. Often this is why faith suffers and wilts. Our lives in the middle of the week do not support our faith but erode our faith. Our lives through the week are destroying faith because we do not live morally virtuous lives. Please note that this is nothing about perfection. This is about staying away from the worldly things in life that stains our moral thinking. Faith is dying when we are consumed by worldliness, when we are consumed by sexuality, and when we are focused on wealth and possessions. Faith is being destroyed in this atmosphere. Moral excellence is not about following the rules or some sort of puritanical constraints. We do good and choose right because that is what feeds our faith and we want a strong faith so that we will never fall. This is why we make moral and righteous decisions for our lives.

Further, our faith needs knowledge. Faith cannot grow without knowing God. Our tag line on a lot of our materials quotes from Romans 10:17 that faith comes from hearing the word of God. Faith is not built or grown without hearing God’s word. So we need to ask ourselves how much we are watering our faith with God’s word in our lives. Does our faith get a daily pouring of God’s word on it? Or is our faith withering because God’s word is not be supplied regularly, deeply, and consistently? Our faith needs godly knowledge.

Third, without self-control then our faith will die. Is this not an interesting thought? Faith needs self-control. Without self-control, our faith will suffer and die. Life without restraints is a disaster for faith. This is one of the dangerous aspects of our culture right now. We are told to not restrain ourselves. We are told that there should be no rules on our lives. Further, our children then have no restraints. They are allowed to express themselves and act how they want without consistent consequence and discipline and they we wonder why they are off the rails. The guard rails were never installed and that is why they are off the rails. We need self-discipline. We need to be able to tell ourselves “no.” We need exert the fortitude to say no to the things in life that will harm and damage our faith. If we get what we want and do what we want, our faith is suffering. Faith requires self-discipline and self-control. We must control our emotions, control our thoughts, control our desires, and control our actions.

Fourth, faith needs endurance. If we do not supply endurance to our faith then our faith will die. This does make sense because our faith will be tested persistently. Our faith is going to be regularly tested. If are not supply steadfastness to our faith, our faith will fail under the weight of trials and temptations. The practice of strength in the face of trials strengthens our faith further to prepare for the next test to come.

Fifth, our faith needs godliness. Godliness reflects a Greek word that is hard to put into the English language with simply one word of ours. It is a word that speaks of reverence for God and a life devoted loyally to God. So we can think of honor and loyalty toward God. With this picture it is easy to see that a life that is not God-honoring will lack faith. Faith cannot thrive if our minds are not focus on the pursuit of God so that he is honored in all we do.

Finally, our faith needs kindness and love. We must have affection for others and affection for God. We must sacrifice for others and we must sacrifice ourselves for God. Now listen to how Peter pulls these qualities together for our lives.

Keep Growing (1:8-9)

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. (2 Peter 1:8 ESV)

These are not qualities that can happen on occasion and expect our faith to be supported. These are qualities that must be increasing in us. We are turning the faucet on more and more so that these qualities are increasing in watering our faith. These qualities must be growing in us for our faith to grow. What we are learning is that growth of faith does not happen by accident. We do not magically receive strong faith. There is the call in verse 5 to make every effort to support our faith with these qualities. Listen to what Peter says: these qualities as they increase in our lives will keep us from becoming ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of Jesus. But then listen to verse 9 to see the importance of this pursuit.

For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins. (2 Peter 1:9 ESV)

If we are not fruitful, we will fall. But notice the picture. The reason we fall away is because we forget where we came from. We have forgotten that we have been cleansed from our former sins. This is the error of the people of Israel in the wilderness. The reason they wanted to go back to Egypt is because they forgot what life was like in Egypt. They forgot how they had been rescued and healed. Peter says something rather serious. If we are not supplying our faith with these qualities, the reason is because we are so nearsighted that we are blind. There is a way to be so nearsighted that you are blind. That is my condition with my eyes. I wear contact lenses so that most of you do not know that I am extremely nearsighted. Without corrective lenses the only thing I can make out are changes in colors. I cannot see details and cannot read. I have to hold things up against my nose to read. It is a terrible state. Think about what Peter is saying spiritually about us. If we are not supplying these qualities into our faith, we cannot see. We think we can see but we actually cannot. When I was a kid I didn’t know that I could not see. We were at a baseball game and I asked by dad what something on the scoreboard said. I could make out the scoreboard but I could not read anything on it. So I asked him what it said. He was stunned and could not believe I could not see it. But I didn’t know any better. I thought how I could see was normal and everyone else also saw this way. But there was something wrong and I didn’t know it. This is what Peter is trying to show us. I want you to see that there is something wrong. You are spiritually so nearsighted that you are blind and do not know it if you are not supporting your faith with these qualities. Your faith is very weak and God wants you to know this and not remain blind.

Conclusion (1:10-11)

So this is what brings us back to where we started.

10 Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. 11 For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. (2 Peter 1:10–11 ESV)

Therefore we must be diligent to practice these qualities because if we do, we will never fall. God is not giving us rules. God is not giving us stuff to do: pray, read, worship, etc. These things are given to us to supply our faith so that we will never fall.

So what do we need to do if we are recognizing that our faith is weak? What should we do if we are realizing that we are spiritually nearsighted and are being told that we cannot see? Peter is telling us to focus on our faith. Press into your faith in God. Faith comes by hearing the word of Christ. We must draw closer to the Lord much more so that these attributes will be present in us and growing. We need to see what God has done for us and use that as our motivation to supply our faith with these qualities. Choose moral and right decisions so that your faith can grow and flourish. Spend quiet time in God’s word to grow your faith. Practice self-control to have your faith be stronger. Practice endurance in life so that faith can strengthen. Focus on devoting your life to God for faith to increase. Make changes in your life so that God receives the priority. Give affection and love to others and to God so that your faith grow deep roots. God says that by practicing these things we will never fall. We have been called to stand in the faith and stand in the grace of God with the tools God has given for us to succeed. Let us make every effort to supply our faith with these characteristics.

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