Thursday, March 5, 2015

How to Have Thriving Spiritual Life (2 Peter 1.1-11)

Scripture: 2 Peter 1.1-11
Translation: 1Simeon Peter, slave and apostle of Jesus Chistus to those receiving something equal to us far as faith in the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ. 2May grace and peace be multiplied to you concerning knowing God and Jesus our Lord.
3Given that all aspects of His Divine Power, the ones that are for life and piety, [power] truly being given to us through knowing the One Who called you for His Own glory and excellence, 4through which [glory and excellence] the precious and greatest promises to us really are given, so that through these things you would become sharers of the divine character thereby escaping the corruption in the world with respect to desire, 5And so concerning this same thing, by applying total zeal, supply your faith with excellence, and excellence with knowledge, 6and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with endurance, and endurance with piety, 7and piety with brotherly-affection, and brotherly-affection with love. 8because these things truly being yours and growing will make [you] neither useless nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9You see, whoever doesn't have these things is blind, being near-sighted, becoming forgetful of the cleansing of his past sins. 10because of this moreover, brothers and sisters, hurry to make your calling and selection confirmed, because by doing these things you will definitely not ever be ruined. 11because in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be richly granted.

1.      Structure
a.       Letter Formula (vv.1-2)
b.      How to Have a Thriving Spiritual Life
                                                              i.      Basis: God has given us all aspects of His power needed for life and piety (vv.3-4)
                                                            ii.      Command: Get all aspects of a healthy spiritual life (vv.5-7)
                                                          iii.      Motivation/Explanation: All those aspects of a healthy spiritual life will make you productive (vv.8-9)
1.      Positively: these virtues will make you useful and fruitful in your relationship with Christ
2.      Negatively: the absence of these virtues imply a willful blindness and forgetfulness of all that Christ has done for your sins
                                                          iv.      Command: Make sure your relationship with God is firm (v.10a)
                                                            v.      Motivation/Explanation: Eternal Life with Christ (vv.10b-11)
1.      Negatively: you will not be destroyed
2.      Positively: you will receive admission into Christ’s Eternal Kingdom
2.      Themes
a.       Excellence/Virtue/Piety
b.      Furnishing/supplementing/adding
c.       God’s power
d.      Blindness
e.       Calling/Election
f.       Spiritual Vitality
g.      The Christian Life
h.      Giving
i.        Knowing God and Jesus
3.      Doctrines
a.       God calls and chooses who will be saved
b.      Sanctification is just as dependent on God’s power as salvation
c.       The Christian life should be a maturing Spiritual life
d.      Works don’t save, but they do show who is saved

1.      Outline
a.       Step 1: Do nothing, because God does Step 1 all on His Own: He provides the power and the promise
                                                              i.      All aspects of God’s Power that produces life and piety
                                                            ii.      The promise
b.      Step 2: Add all the Christian Virtues, because a) God has empowered you to do so, b) doing so will result in a useful and fruitful relationship with Jesus, and c) because not doing so reveals a willful blindness and forgetfulness of what God has done for you
                                                              i.      Virtues
1.      Moral excellence
2.      Knowledge
3.      Self-control
4.      Endurance
5.      Piety
6.      Brotherly-affection
7.      Love
                                                            ii.      Motives
1.      It’s possible because God has empowered you
2.      a resulting useful and fruitful relationship with Jesus
a.       useful
                                                                                                                                      i.      all of us want to be useful
b.      fruitful
3.      failure to add the virtues indicates a dangerous disposition of the heart and mind
a.       blind
b.      near-sighted
                                                                                                                                      i.      both not able to see the even recent past, and perhaps the coming future
c.       Step 3: Hurry to confirm your calling and election via Step 2, because if you do a) you will not flunk out of the Christian Life, and b) you will get eternal life with Christ complete with rich rewards.
                                                              i.      Command
1.      Hurry
2.      Make firm
3.      your calling and election
                                                            ii.      Motivation: You will stay a Christian and get eternal life with rich rewards
1.      Doing these things not only helps you grow as a Christian, these things help you stay a Christian
2.      It is true good works don’t get you saved, but they do get you rewards and make it more likely that your conversion is genuine
2.      Discussion Questions
a.       Think about your spiritual life, whose power do you think you’ve been using to grow as a Christian, yours or God’s? what makes you think that?
b.      How might the promises of God help us to share His character and escape worldly desires?
c.       Discuss the virtues in the passage (faith, moral excellence, knowledge, self-control, endurance, piety, brotherly-affection, and love). Are they present in your lives? How much? Which one are you strongest in? Which one are you weakest in?
d.      Do you want to be useful to Jesus? Do you want to be fruitful?
e.       Do you think about the amazing grace of God that cleansed you from your sins very much? How might that impact your ability to have the virtues in your life?
f.       What can you do this week to begin to get more fruitful in these virtues?
g.      How sure are you that you are a Christian? Why? What might make you more sure?

1.      A lot of times it feels like we are trying to grow in our relationship with God without any gas in our tank, but the truth is this is only because our car doesn’t run on gas, it runs on God’s power. The more we try to fuel our spiritual lives with human effort, the more we will feel exhausted and fruitless, the greater the sense of failure and confusion, because we need and have God’s power.
2.      It is like this. When we get saved God jumps our car battery and gases it up. Now we can try to get where God is calling us to go by either shifting it into drive and stepping on the gas pedal, or we can shift it into neutral and try to push our car the whole way. Pushing the car will not get us very far very fast, and moreover, there will be some parts of our journey that will be impossible to push ourselves through.
3.      It is like a road that seems flat at first, but we soon realize is a huge incline.

4.      Salvation is proven by good works just like tests prove intelligence/learning. Taking the test is not what makes me smart, writing the paper is not what makes me smart. I am smart so I pass the test or write a good paper. In the same way, salvation enables actions, and so actions indicate salvation, rather than cause salvation. Or it is like a family, acting like someone’s son doesn’t make that person your father, but if that person is your father you will likely act like his son

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