This letter is a Universal or ‘catholic’ epistle / letter meant to be passed around the churches from city to city. Written near the end of his life, most likely from Rome, Peter alone had the gravitas to send a message to all the churches from there to Jerusalem. Today’s passage: Peter greets and gets right down to biz: Discipleship 101. Peter had great authority because he had lived enmeshed in a a culture of Biblical discipleship…he and others wrote the book, literally! This passage expresses some deep, and intimate insights into the ‘Development Program’ Christ Jesus has for HIS Body.
Chapter 1:1-11 (NLT)
1 This letter is from Simon Peter, a slave and apostle of Jesus Christ. I am writing to you who share the same precious faith we have. This faith was given to you because of the justice and fairness of Jesus Christ, our God and Savior.
- He uses both names
- This is not and evangelistic letter…
- His audience is defined by shared values, belief and action (Peter = action)
- Peter defines who Jesus followers are: Same faith / belief as the Apostles
- This is something that is God given, based on God’s reasons
- These declarations of God’s sovereignty throughout Scripture
2 May God give you more and more grace and peace as you grow in your knowledge of God and Jesus our Lord.
- The 1st thing Peter wants for other Christians: God given spiritual growth!
- He asks that God might supply grace & peace as we learn how to follow Christ
- Before we DO anything we must grow in Knowledge (so we do the right things)
3 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.
- Provision that is perfect, good and powerful
- We have everything we need; there is to be no scarcity for the ‘Body of Christ’
- It all happens the instant God’s Spirit indwells the surrendered follower of Christ
- Knowing the ‘One’ who calls… but here again we see that HE makes it happen
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.
- From who HE IS flows what HE DOES…
- He gives us hope we can bet the farm on…promises HE WILL keep!
- He promises to be One with us, to share in who He is: Eternal
- Once you have seen this clearly it is up to you to respond as HE desires
- Christ defines who God is and HE defines who we are as his chosen disciples
Here is of how Christ wants us to respond to the gift of salvation
Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and (supplement your) moral excellence with (a generous provision of) knowledge, 6 and (supplement your) knowledge with (a generous provision of) self-control,
- ‘Generous provision’
- It can only start with faith…
- Add to and give your faith what it needs through moral excellence (obedience)
- Then add to your faith and obedience with knowledge
- but with that knowledge you are going to need self control
Different growth areas are interdependent…
To grow in one area you need to practice other areas
and (supplement your) self-control with (a generous provision of) patient endurance, and (supplement your) patient endurance with (a generous provision of) godliness,
- While practicing self control you then ‘provision that with some ‘long-suffering’
- Your Patience is going to need a generous provision of sacrificial living
- Godliness is being like God: Merciful, graceful, forgiving, righteous, just…
7 and (supplement your) godliness with (a generous provision of) brotherly affection, and (supplement your) brotherly affection with (a generous provision of) love for everyone.
- What your godliness will need to not become legalistic is a lot of ‘Philadelphia’
- Brotherly Love…Love that is charitable, between those of the same family
- Then from there you supplement that kind of love with provision of ‘Agape’
- This is the love that is deep and sacrificial
- The kind of unconditional love God has for us in Christ, what we are to imitate
- This is the real measure of growth… it is the end of our progression… or is it?
- What should you supplement your ‘Agape Love’ for everyone with?
- ‘Supplement your love for everyone with a generous portion of’…FAITH !!
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.
- ‘Grow Like This’: Respond To God’s Promises
- ‘Grow Like This’: Progressively, Constantly, Intentionally…WHY???
- To become more productive for the ‘Kingdom of God’
- ‘Grow Like This’… growing in all of these areas together
- If you neglect growing in the things of Christ it proves you to be without vision
10 So, dear brothers and sisters, work hard to prove that you really are among those God has called and chosen. Do these things, and you will never fall away. 11 Then God will give you a grand entrance into the eternal Kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
- Because you share the same God-given faith with Christ’s Disciples / Apostles
- Because Peter & Leaders are asking Christ to grow you spiritually
- Because Christ provides EVERYTHING you need
- Because Christ has promised to share eternity with you
- Because Christ has given you a plan!
- RESPOND by getting after it!
- GROW! Like it’s your job…CUZ IT IS!
- DOING THESE THINGS Build a lifestyle that can’t be disrupted
- DOING THESE THINGS Demonstrates you’re among those Christ called
By the time Peter wrote this letter he was a great leader amongst Christ’s followers. He had been productive for the kingdom…which is the goal of all Christ’s followers!
When Jesus called Peter he was a good leader. He became a great leader because he learned that to be a great leader, you must first become a great follower! Peter figured out over time that to be a great follower you need four things:
You need to be sure who Christ is
You need to be sure who you are
You need to trust God to grow you
You need to respond to what God is doing w/ Bible based action / Christ Discipleship. The message of this passage is foundational to those building a culture of Biblical Christ Discipleship = MIDTOWN CHURCH
Completely embrace that God alone decides who gets faith in Christ for His reasons.
Grow in dependence on God’s grace & peace as you learn to be Christ’s follower.
Learn how to live like God will supply everything you need to be Christ’s follower.
Become 100% sure God has promised YOU will fully share in who HE IS, forever.
Develop an intentional, progressive discipleship plan and work your plan.