Reminder: Only One Worship Service at 10:15AM starting 5/26

The Two Sides of Sanctification

May 12, 2024 Preacher: Michael Clary Series: Second Peter

Scripture: 2 Peter 3:14–18

 Good morning, church. Happy Mother's Day. Hopefully you mothers are You know that you're celebrated today, and we're so thankful for you.

I need to call my mom today, and I have a wife who is also a mother, who reminds me that I need to call my mother today. It's a blessing all around. And bye. quick housekeeping item. We are, I've put this, sent this out in an email a couple weeks ago, but two weeks from today we will be combining into one service for the summer.

So yeah that's. I think we'll enjoy it, and it will make things tight. So, we'll add some chairs in here and do what we can to make sure we can all fit. But from May the 26th through probably Labor Day or so. We will plan on being one service in here at 1015. And 1015 is a totally normal time to meet for church.

I know people like 10:15. Why is that weird? Why don't you put it on the hour? And I'm like, it's a totally normal time to have church 10:15. So, you can just trust me on that. But 10:15 starting May 26, we'll be in one service. Okay. Today we are landing the plane with second Peter. We're going to close this thing out and we will do some we'll do some Psalms and other things over the next few weeks before we get into Malachi in the book, in the month of July.

But we're going to finish up 2nd Peter today. And here in this last text, it covers a recap of all that he's been through in the whole book. And so, we've seen so far that this book of 2 Peter, he spurs us on to obedience in Christ while warning us against false teachers. And one of the characteristics of the false teachers of his day was what theologians would call antinomianism and antinomianism is still very much very much a thing today.

The, every generation really has faced. a unique challenge unique in their generation, but the challenge itself is very common. And the challenge is to hold this tension of proclaiming and upholding the amazing beauty and power of God's grace, while at the same time affirming that we are called to obedience.

So, grace does not obliterate obedience. Grace does not obliterate law. The grace and law need to be held together. In fact, grace, the grace of God is what propels us forward in our obedience, knowing that we are forgiven of our sin. And then God has filled us with his spirit and given us power to obey him in all of life.

And so, the scandal of God's grace is not the enemy of obedience to God. But there is a tendency for people to be apathetic. They there's this apathy towards the law of God as though it doesn't really matter as though obeying God is really an optional add on accessory to the Christian life. But it is not something that is really core or essential.

So, the apostle Paul, he, he did this. It's like he preached a hot gospel. He preached a powerful gospel message of God's grace so much so that his detractors accused him of preaching you should sin more in order to get more grace. That's what. they accused Paul of saying. Of course, that wasn't true.

And that's not what he believed or taught. But he did preach a powerful, gracious gospel message such that people misunderstood him that way. This idea plagued the early church. The idea that they don't need to obey God and that it didn't matter. So much so that people were led astray from faithfulness to God.

It led them into error. And this still happens. A lot of times the false teachers, even in our day, they present themselves as champions of grace. They're the ones who are, we are the ones that are really telling you about the full rich grace of God. And so, it's like God is powerful enough to save you, but not powerful enough to change you.

Nor does he really care that much if he changes you. And that's the way that they present it. They're the champions of grace and that leads people astray. And this has massive consequences for people that follow them because souls are at stake. It can lead people into apostasy. Their souls can end up being people can be, can have a false conversion.

They're deceived into thinking that they are saved when they're not. So today we're going to look at Peter's closing argument and one last time just seeing how he urges people don't stray from the path that he's been presenting throughout the course of the letter. So, I'm just going to look at this under two, two major headings.

And that's a positive and a negative two, two sides of sanctification. It is the first heading is fight sin, kill your sin. That's the first one. And the other one is pursue growth, fight your sin. And pursue growth. So, it's a dig in second Peter chapter three. We begin in verse 14 and we'll finish it up.

So, listen to God's word, therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish and at peace. And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you, according to the wisdom given him. As he does in all his letters, when he speaks of them in these matters, speaks in them of these matters.

There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other scriptures. You, therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people. And lose your own stability but grow and the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, to him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity.

Amen. This is God's word. First point, first heading. This one is longer. First point is just fight your sin, kill your sin. That is the big idea here. So, verse 14, he says, you, therefore beloved, since you're waiting for these, be diligent to be found by him without. Spot or blemish into peace.

Be diligent. That it's a matter of effort, right? It's something that we do. He's, it's a command. He's telling us you need to do something and to do it diligently. So, this is not an accident. Growth in Christ does not just happen accidentally. It is a matter of effort and intentionality.

We don't coast our way into obedience, and it uses these two words here. Spot. Those are interesting words. He's talking about mortifying sin, right? He's talking about putting sin to death, fighting it and killing it, and using these two words to describe things that we don't want to be present in our lives at the return of Christ.

without spot or blemish. And he uses those two words and as a way of describing what we should be. And he uses the opposite of those two words, a chapter earlier to describe what the wicked are like. Those who do not know God and those who are not walking with God. So, if you go back one, a chapter to second Peter two 13.

He's talking about the wicked, those that don't know God. They count it pleasure to revel in the daytime. They are blots and blemishes, reveling in their deceptions while they feast with you. These are the same two words negated in the Greek. So, it's the same word. It's like the wicked, they are blots and blemishes.

And I've, I there are several other places in the New Testament where Paul uses the same kind of word pair to talk about blots and blemishes. And if you think about it, there's connections here to the Old Testament sacrificial system, where you would offer to the Lord, a spotless lamb not a blemish lamb, but one that is without spot or blemish.

The same idea here. And so, he's taking, he's saying that our lives need to be characterized by a certain kind of purity and holiness, not spotted, not blemished, but We're going to present ourselves to God to be found by God on the day of his return without spot or without blemish. So, there's two sides to sanctification.

Two sides of sanctification. Peter talks about it one way. Paul talks about it a different way. And I'll show you an example from Paul here, but the two sides are we fight sin. We fight and kill sin. And the other side is we pursue righteousness and good works. We pursue godliness. We pursue the knowledge of God.

The But it's, there's some things that we want to get rid of and other things that we want to put on or to grow in. So, here's how the Apostle Paul said it, Ephesians 4, verse 22, and it's a longer sentence, so I'm just putting, picking up here in the middle. But here's the negative part. Put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life, and is corrupt through deceitful desires.

And to be renewed. In the spirit of your minds. So now here's the positive renewed in the spirit of your minds and to put on the new self-created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. Do you see that? Very simple, very straightforward. You have a negative side. Put off the old self, get rid of sin, get rid of impurity, fight sin, fight temptation, put it to death, mortify it.

And then you have the positive side. Put on this character of God. Act more and more like God. Behave in such a way that is fitting of a Christian. Somebody who has been saved. The whole thing you would call sanctification. Theologians would just like to be sanctified, to be purified. The whole thing is called sanctification.

And we know that sanctification is progressive. It doesn't happen all at once, right? It's there. Nobody is immediately instantaneously sanctified. It's a process that plays out over the course of your life, but sanctification is also deliberate. Sanctification, you don't coast. You don't, it's not something that just happens accidentally.

It is something that there's effort. You expend yourself; you work at it. And that's what be diligent means. Whenever we looked at verse 14, a moment ago, be diligent. It is an effort. It is a, it's something that we work at. So, sanctification is a matter of Holy Spirit fueled effort. Something that we do.

It's clear that there was a particular kind of sin that Peter emphasized repeatedly. Throughout this book of second Peter and going back into first Peter, we saw the same kind of sin. There is a sin that people are particularly interested in not mortifying and not growing in holiness. The sin that I'm talking about is a sexual sin, several different times.

So, there are three that come to mind in second Peter where he talks about sensuality or sensual conduct or sensual passions or the three different references just in second Peter alone. And we see this in other letters of Paul, other letters of 1st Peter, Jude it's in the book of Hebrews, book of James, I, pretty much every New Testament letter talks about the pervasive and powerful nature of sexual sin and how that is a particular temptation that we need to mortify.

So, I want to talk about that for a little bit. Sexual sin is, and always has been, and always will be until Jesus returns, a matter of pervasive temptation for Christians. And Jesus also taught us that it begins in the heart. So, there is the, there is sexual sin in its full manifestation of sexual morality, fornication, adultery, and homosexuality, and all of the, all the physical manifestations of it.

But there's also the inner beginnings of that sin. which is a sin of the heart, which is lust and things like that. And Jesus tells us that if you look upon a woman with lust in your eyes, you've already committed adultery with her in your heart. Remember that? Matthew five. So, it's a, it's something that is, it is a, it is something inside of us.

It is a desire, a sensual desire or sensual passion. And that is a, it's a pervasive thing. It's something that Christians always need to deal with. And so, this can manifest differently in the lives of men and in women. So, let's address these independently. Men will start with us. Putting off the old self.

So, mortifying our sexual sin, mortifying our sexual temptations, our sexual desires, our lusts. It's a matter of being diligent. We've already talked about this. So, we need to make it an effort, make it a commitment of our minds and of our actions and our planning to fight your lust, to put it to death. You have to fight, kill, mortify your lust, because you are responsible before God for not only the things that you do with your body, but also your thoughts, also your fantasies, your daydreams all of these things are We should be holy in them.

Now, whenever we send there, of course, there's the grace of God that we appeal to, and we are forgiven. And that forgiveness gives us the freedom to know that we can pursue righteousness, not worrying about condemnation, but rather we're worrying about how we're pleasing to the Lord. So, God's grace is the fuel that enables us to have a hope of victory and to actually overcome the sin, but we still have to fight it.

So, this is the time of year it's getting warmer outside. And so, this is a good time to be reminded of the fact that during this time of year, women will dress in ways that will incite your lust. You'll want to look; you'll want to look and linger in your look. And that's. You're responsible for that.

So, it's a matter of being diligent. You have to be diligent with your mind and your eyes and your thoughts to mortify sinful thoughts and sinful desires, right? So, what do you want to do about it? Are you going to do something about it? It's easy to say, yeah, I need to deal with that. Yeah, I need to work on lust.

I need to not lust anymore. And it's easy to say that, but that's not diligence. Just saying something isn't diligent, and what Peter tells us to be is diligent. Are you diligent? Do you have a plan for mortifying that sin? Have you committed it to prayer? Have you asked God, do you begin your day, Lord, help me this day to, to not sin against you with my eyes and my heart.

Do you have a plan for it? Is it something you've prayed about? Ask God for strength and you've got some controls, some guardrails in place that will help you to not fall into that sin or put yourself in a position to where you might be tempted. What about your computer or your phone? Have you, do you have controls in place there?

There's lots of software there's, there are tools and resources you can use. And then, if you find that you can't even control the sin with the tools and resources, then, and Jesus says, if your eye causes you to sin, gouge it out, meaning you got to be radical with it.

So, if you made radical decisions about how you'll address that sin. I won't have internet at my house. I only use the internet at work, and I only use the internet with my screen facing, the office where my coworkers can see what I'm doing. It could be that you have, you install covenant eyes or some similar software on your phone.

We have a, it's in the public every week where there's a plan that the church pays for. That is a resource to you that's available just to everyone called accountable to you. You can see the link to that in the public emails that go out and it's the link to that and to sign up is in the emails every week.

So that's available to you for free. Do you have a plan? Are you doing something about it? Do you do you watch shows or movies that would tempt you? That's pretty common. So, it may not be, there's like the sin of, okay, this is explicitly pornography and I'm going to go to this website or use this whatever to watch things that are made to be pornographic.

And then there's what the way a lot of porn comes at us nowadays, which is I'm just watching a show. Porn just happens to be a 30 second clip somewhere in the middle of this otherwise really well-made show. There are ways that you guys can go to imdb. com and it'll tell you how many instances of different kinds of sexual immorality is on, is in a show that you may watch or a movie.

I wanted to see the movie Oppenheimer and I've heard Oppenheimer has a couple of really explicit scenes in it. And so, I read reviews of it, and it says, the movie itself, it's like the scenes are not really. All that critical to the movie itself.

And so, I looked at a, I found a website that says, from this timestamp to that timestamp is when the scene is. And so when it came on I was watching the movie, and I'm like, okay here in about a minute, and then right at that scene, I hit pause on the remote, I took a blanket, I put it over the TV, I kid you not, I put a blanket over the TV and then I lifted up the corner to where I could see the little time thing.

And then I just skipped it ahead to that time, and then I paused it again, took the blanket off, and went on with the movie. And other than that, I just had to deal with F bombs and all that stuff throughout the rest of the movie. But the sexually explicit stuff, which is the thing that I most wanted to make sure that I avoided, was able to do that.

And there are things you can do, but that was a matter of being good at it. Diligent. It's a matter of being intentional. It's not going to happen by accident. So, you might hear, oh, this movie's got stuff in it. Might have some scenes and you'll be like whenever that scene comes on, I'll just skip over it.

Maybe, but maybe you won't. And maybe you're putting yourself on the path of temptation where You're just like, when it comes on, it's I'm sure this won't last a minute. And I'm just going to keep looking and waiting for the scene to be over. Oh, I don't know. I saw something there, but I'm just going to keep waiting.

You have to be diligent. And there are ways we can trick ourselves into thinking that we're doing something. We're being diligent when really, we're being lazy, but we're convinced self-deceived into thinking we're being diligent. The point here is that we're responsible for how we. We're responsible for what we think about, what we view and what we're told is to be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish so that it's purified.

For the men in this church that I know that pornography and sexual sin and temptation has been just a really severe battle for you. I want you to be encouraged by the fact that you can be found without spot or blemish. Meaning, you can be free of that sin. You can be freed of that temptation.

That may not be easy. You may have to go to extreme measures to fight it. That's what diligence requires. If you want to do anything with excellence, you're going to have to do it with intentional effort. But you can be set free from it. You can have, I think it is possible to be totally porn free.

That's not an unreasonable thing to, to think that you could be 100 percent porn free. Be diligent. Alright, women How would you put off the old self or how was sexual temptation and sin manifest differently in men as in women. So, women, you have the same responsibility to fight lust and to fight it and kill it.

And the lust may not be the same as it is with the man, but you have no less of a responsibility. For women men are tempted to see women as objects of desire. Men being visual, tempted to see women as objects of desire. Women are more likely to be tempted to be seen as objects of desire. And that's where modesty comes in, where the way that you dress, the clothes that you put on or clothes that you should put on that is a matter of how you are seen and are you presenting yourself in such a way that might draw attention to yourself in ways that would incite other people to lust.

So, some women, there's this game that I've seen where a woman will dress or act in ways to make men desire them. And then once they elicit that desire, then get offended that the desire took place. And so, it's like a, it's like there's two sins at work there. There's the sin of a modesty, and then there's the sin of getting offended when people point out the immodesty or say, hey, you shouldn't do that.

There's this sense that I see this, it's very common now in the Christian world, and it's not popular to talk about, but there is, there's a thing where women don't want to be, or don't want anybody to point out any instance of immodesty, that modesty should be totally self-determined and that nobody else should have any say in what modesty is.

But that's just the thing about modesty. Modesty is not self-determined. Modesty is for the sake of showing. towards other people. And so if you're, if there was something that you do that needlessly incites somebody else to sin in ways that is preventable and reasonable for you to love your fellow Christian brothers or just love anybody by not inciting them to sin, then it is not inappropriate for that, for somebody to say, hey, that's a, that's immodest and you can do something about that.

But it's, but this is something that you have to take responsibility for and to know what's going on in your heart and to know your heart enough to know it's I do want to be looked at and then I want to be able to have the right to be offended when I'm looked at. And that's, that's not an uncommon thing.

And for some women, I see that this thinking is so ingrained in them that whenever they resist it so strongly that they'll blame the scriptures. They'll say the apostle Paul was a misogynist. The apostle Paul, he was, it's the patriarchy trying to keep women down.

It's no, the apostle Paul knows human nature because he was inspired by God to write about human nature, to know that women sin and men sin, both sin in different ways. And men's sins tend to be more external, visible, loud, obvious. Women's sins tend to be much more subtle and hidden and not so obvious or seen.

But we both sin. And that's there's a need to address both. And so, I think with modesty, modesty is an indicator of the heart. There's a verse in Proverbs. I don't have it on the screen here, but I think it's Proverbs 10, maybe verse seven but he says that this, the woman comes to a man and the warning in Proverbs is warning the man to not be taken in by this woman.

It says she comes to him dressed as a prostitute. Wiley and heart, something like that. Meaning that you'll know the Wiley of heart by the way she presents herself, the way she looks, the way she dresses is an indicator of something that's going on in her heart and her heart is Wiley. And then it goes on to say, her feet don't stay at home.

She's always out and about and saying, that's a woman that you would want to be careful with. And to not, to not go to her and fall in love with her or sleep with her. And this is a very common thing nowadays. So, a godly woman she takes responsibility for how she dresses, and she is a, she, it's wise to be aware of your own heart.

Women might say something like, I'm not being immodest. I'm not doing this for attention. I just want to be comfortable. There's, is there not limits to that? Are there, is there not something that women could do that might not be as comfortable, but might be more loving to, to cover up and to not dress in some ways that draw attention to yourself in ways that might tempt men around you.

So, it's a thing to take responsibility for and to recognize that is a sin to put to death. It's a sin to put to death. A godly woman will take responsibility for how she dresses, what she puts on, and she will honor God with the way that she dresses in her body. Before I move on, I just want to Come into a resource.

The mortification of sin is a book by John Owen, Puritan guy written back in the 17th century, and it's not an easy read. And so, Aaron Renn is a modern guy and he put together an adaptation, a paraphrase, to make it more readable and accessible. We have a bunch of these in our library area downstairs.

So I brought up six copies here and I'll set them on the, I'll just sit them here now Send them up here and if you take one make sure you read it But it's free to whoever would want one and it's very readable and accessible But the book is a mortification of sin and it just gives you a Very practical guide to how do you fight sin and temptation going through our text some more the next little phrase here verse 15. He said and count the patience of our Lord as salvation Last week we talked about God's patience, and we talked about it mostly in terms of patience toward unbelievers, so that they might reach repentance. Verse 9 last week was what we, was the verse here.

The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. Now this applies both to Christians and non-Christians. So, for unbelievers, God's patience is a patience so that they might repent of their sin, believe in Jesus, and be saved.

It applies there, but if we look closely at what the text says, it, he's, I think he's talking more to Christians. He's patient toward you. And the letter is addressed to. So, I think to be more precise, who Peter is speaking of in, in, in these texts about God's patients is Christians who have been tempted by, or maybe are even moving towards apostasy.

They've been tempted by false teachers. They've been believing what false teachers say, and they have been, uh, they're tempted by this antinomian thinking. That they can deny God's law and not obey God. And so, God is patient towards them. And so, the patience that Peter is referring to here would at least include, I think, both kinds of people.

Unrepentant unbelievers is one group, but I think more specifically who he has in view are Christians. that are in this ambiguous place where they claim they profess to be Christians, but they're drifting along towards false teachers and antinomianism of denying our responsibility to obey God.

It says, God is patient with you, not wanting you to perish, but all to reach repentance. So, he wants both tempted Christians that are in this ambiguous place and non-Christians, unregenerate, unrepentant non-Christians. There's time. The time is to bring you to repentance. And so, the verse for today, verse 15, count the patience of our Lord as salvation.

It's the same idea here. Know that God's patience towards you potentially antinomian Christians that are being tempted and drawn away. God's patience is an opportunity for you to believe and to be to be brought back into close fellowship with God and obedience. Basically saying, don't take your salvation for granted.

Don't presume upon God's grace. But know that God's grace has a purpose. And even God's patience has a purpose. And that purpose is to help complacent, lukewarm Christians. To give them opportunities to be brought back to repentance. So, the warnings are unmistakable. He's saying, fight your sin, but don't delay fighting your sin.

Don't put it off. Don't say I'll get to that some other time but be ready for Jesus to find you now in a position to where you're already being sanctified, and you're already found without spot or blemish.

Verse continuing on now the rest of this verse, count the patience of the Lord as salvation. And this is a bit of an excursus, so I won't spend a whole lot of time on it, but he, what Peter does here is he essentially says, the Apostle Paul says the same thing that I say. That's what he's getting at, but he says some other interesting things here.

And I'll point, I'll just, I'll give you a little a few remarks on how interesting this is. Count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul. Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him as he does in all his letters. So, Paul's written a lot of things and Peter was aware of many of Paul's writings when he speaks of them of these matters.

So not just things that Paul wrote about, but Paul wrote about the same things. There are some things in them that are hard to understand. Now that ought to give you a lot of comfort. If the Apostle Peter, who actually hung out with Jesus for years and was with Jesus all the time for years, if Peter would say, sometimes I can find Paul a little tough to read then I think we can take a little comfort if you read things in the Bible and think, I don't quite get that.

You're in good company because you're the same as the Apostle Peter who also thought these things are tough to read, tough to understand. So that's a wonderful thing. But, Ignorant, the ignorant and unstable, they twist it to their own destruction as they do the other scriptures. Fascinating text.

And I'll just, I had a whole bunch of stuff I was going to say about this, but I, it was because it was more of an excursus, I just thought, I'll save that for some other time, but I'll just point out a few things that are highlights worth noting. Is Peter where I'm looking forward to, oh, here it is.

The word our, Peter affirms the fellow apostleship of Paul. So, the hour here is like our beloved brother, not ours and our brother as a fellow Christian, but the hour is our, as in the apostolic witness, our beloved the, our fellow apostle, Paul. So, he's affirming the apostleship of Paul. He affirms that Paul's message in gospel is consistent with Peter's message in gospel.

Because he speaks in his letters of these matters. So, the same thing Peter sang, Paul says. Peter's letter, or Paul's letters were already considered authoritative scripture. They the un, they, people twist the letters, the words of Paul as they do the other scriptures. The scriptures here are, would, the same word for scriptures here is used of all of the Old Testament writings.

So, by the time Peter wrote this letter, he was familiar with many other letters that Paul had written. He affirmed Paul as an apostle, and he's saying that Paul's letters are authoritative as scripture, just like Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, and so on. So that's a very powerful endorsement from the Apostle Peter to, to Paul's apostleship in his message.

There were Paul's letters could be somewhat difficult to understand. So that's encouraging. And Peter was aware that Paul's letters and message were being twisted and perverted by false teachers, and they still are today. Paul's letters are still being twisted, still being perverted today by false teachers who are still trying to deceive people.

The last thing I'll say here about this is they twist them to their own destruction. That is, the word destruction there has an eschatological flavor to it, meaning destruction refers to, they will be destroyed at the return of Christ for eternity. So they are, he's saying like the false teachers that do this, if they don't repent, then what awaits them is eternal damnation.

So, he's dealing with a very serious issue. He's Hey, you might've heard of this other church over in Galatia or Colossia, Colossae or Philippi or Corinth. You might've heard some of these other churches and stuff going on there with these other people and there's controversies about Paul. He says, hey, the false teachers are doing the same thing to Paul that they're doing here with you guys.

And God will judge them.

So, moving on the same text here, you, therefore beloved, knowing this beforehand, take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability. So, we've already covered the false teachers a good bit. Whenever we did our discernment series in chapter two. But just one more observation here is here Peter calls them lawless people.

So that's the that's where I get the antinomian thing. They're saying the law of God doesn't matter. The judgment of God is probably not going to happen at all. So, it doesn't matter the grace of God covers up everything so you can just live how you want, and God likes that God wants you to do whatever you want, and his grace will just cover any old thing that you want to do that is the teaching of lawless people.

And so that teaching is still very common. Unless they repent, they will be destroyed. And there's another thing here. They, he calls them ignorant. Up here before the ignorant and unstable. They twist it to their own destruction. The ignorant here, what are they ignorant of? It could mean they're ignorant of the Bible, the teaching of Jesus the gospel message, that, that's very well, would be included in this.

But they, I take this to mean that they are ignorant even of the fact that they are false teachers. So, a false teacher doesn't need to know they are a false teacher. In fact, false teachers very often think that they are true teachers, but they are ignorant of the fact that they are false teachers. And Jesus said something similar in John 16 too.

He said,

He is offering service to God. So, there are people who will, who would persecute the prophets or persecute the apostles, rather persecute faithful Christians, kill them, thinking that they're doing what God wants them to do. They're so deceived and so twisted and arrogant in their error that they think that they're doing the Lord's work.

They're being a good faithful Christian when in fact they are harming people, and they are twisting the scriptures to their own destruction. And so, they're ignorant and unstable. So antinomian false teachers lead people into apostasy. And so, the point there is just avoid them and be able to recognize them so that you can detect the error.

And then avoid them, don't listen to them, don't buy their books, don't listen to their material, read their blogs, watch their YouTube videos, avoid them. Okay. I told you the first point was longer. The second point is a good bit shorter. There's only one verse that really covers this and that is pursue growth, grow.

So, this is the positive side. of our sanctification. Negative side put off the old man, positive side is put on Christ. Put on the new man. Grow, pursue growth and grace and sanctification. Verse 18, but grow, that's command imperative, grow in two things, the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

And then a doxology to him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen. Grow in grace and knowledge, positive sanctification. So, grace is a gift. We think in just pop Christianity that grace God refers and only refers to what God does to forgive us. But grace is more than that. God gives us more than forgiveness.

He gives us forgiveness, of course, but God gives us more than forgiveness. He gives us the power of the Holy Spirit to transform us so that we can receive the gift of transformation throughout the course of our lives. So, grace is the foundation of our lives as believers. Everything we do is by grace, and we can grow in that grace.

So, it's noteworthy that grace can grow. Grow in the grace. So, grace, we can receive the gift in even greater ways, or apply the gift in greater and greater ways. And so even though it is all by God's power, the responsibility to apply that power is ours. We put God's grace to work. That's why he told us in the earlier verse, be diligent to do these things.

So, think of it, you can think of it this way. If you think of the Christian life like flying, so God has called us as Christians to soar to new heights, spiritually speaking, it's like flying and all of it is by God's grace. So, by God's grace, The Christian life begins when our sins are forgiven. We were dead in our sin, in our trespasses.

We're dead, but we were made alive in Christ. And that's our, we're forgiven, we're regenerated by the Holy Spirit. So, we have new life in Christ now. And then by grace, that Christian life, that same grace can be applied. And we can grow in that grace as we mortify and kill and fight in dwelling sin and purify ourselves so that we will be found without spot or blemish so we can grow in that grace.

And then by grace, the Christian life grows even more because God has given us wings to fly. He's given us a new power, new ability by the power of the spirit, which is within us to do things that we never might've thought would have been possible. Right now, there are things that are possible of you.

Because of the new life in you in Christ, and because of the spirit that is at work within you, you are capable of things by the Spirit, by grace, that might shock you if you were to realize it. You don't know that you have that power because maybe you just haven't been diligent to apply it or even to try out what God's grace can do.

You've been, spiritually speaking, you've been given wings to fly, something that in your strength is impossible, but in God's strength, by his grace, it is possible because his work is it in you. So, the same grace that saved you is the grace that will propel you onward and upward into greater and greater.

Heights of Christian growth. So today is May the 12th, 2024. Let's say we tack on about five and a half years, round it up to January 1st, 2030. So now let's say we're in January 1st, 2030. What is true of your life in 2030? I'm not saying a year from now, because it might take more than that. Because it's slow.

It's progressive, but maybe in five and a half years, you might see some of the changes that is possible. So, what should you expect? One thing we know is we will have endured two more presidential elections; may God help us all. But what else would have happened by the year 2030? Some of you you're younger, you'll have graduated high school or college.

You'll have started your careers. Some of you will have gotten married. Some of you will have had one, two, however many kids. My wife had all four of our kids in a five-year span. So, some of you he may have fought four kids in the next five years. Who knows by 2030, some of you, you may have enjoyed incredible success in your work.

Others of you, you might've endured incredible trials and heartache in the next five and a half years. Some of you, you will bring new souls into the world, or your own soul will be saved. Because you don't know the Lord yet. Maybe five years from now, you don't know the Lord now, but you will five and a half years from now.

I hope that is today. Others some of you may go home to be with the Lord. I hope not, but we all die. So that may happen. Some of you may be tempted by false teaching. The kind of false teaching that Peter is warning about in this letter. Some of you may fall into error and grave sin. And some of you, by God's grace, and I pray it will be all of you, and this is what the promise is that's held out for us, that five years from now, five and a half years from now, in January 2030, you will be more faithful.

You will be more filled with the grace and knowledge of God then, than you are now. Some of you more than others. But if you are a true Christian, there's no reason to not expect that will have happened by that time, that you will have grown in the grace and knowledge of God. You'll be more holy. You will have overcome sin that you thought would plague you and kick your butt for the rest of your life.

And five years from now, you'll be like, man, that used to be such a struggle. And now it's like it, it's barely a thought. I've been totally liberated. I had a friend once who was a heroin addict. And he said that he thought that there was, there would never come a day that he would not at least desire it because it had just enslaved him so strongly.

He did get to a point where he's I don't even think about it anymore. But he, but that, that date took about, took a few years to get there. But that you'll be more set free. You'll be more filled with the spirit, more holy, more obedient, more useful to the kingdom. Now, some of these things in terms of life circumstances are not in your control.

There are things that will happen to you that are totally out of your control. And God is sovereign over those things. He is in control of those, but how much you fight sin, how much you kill sin, how much you grow, how diligent you are, how much faith and effort you put into it, that is within your control.

You get to say how much you put into it. How much work you give it. And a lot of people have this idea of God's grace. Then, because it's God's grace, it ought to be easy. It should just happen. I should just read the Bible and know it all. I should just be able to pray, and my prayers are answered, and I don't even have to think about it anymore.

It's no, you have to be diligent. The diligence part, there's an effort to it. There's something that we have to do, and you can choose not to do it and just be less fruitful, less effective. You cannot grow as much in the grace and knowledge of God. And yet there are warnings. about that. Warnings about being complacent, treating your faith with apathy.

That, and that's a lot of what Peter's talking about through this whole letter. Don't just take these things for granted. Don't presume upon the grace of God to think I can just coast. I can just ignore my Bible. I can ignore prayer. I can come to church sometimes, skip it a bunch, whenever I can just, because it's grace, God will forgive me.

No big deal. And that kind of attitude can harden your heart.

You can think I don't like a porn today; God will forgive me. It's his job, right? He's got to, he asked to forgive me. So, I'll just go ahead and sin. It's like you can harden your heart and you can just be neglectful about the state of your soul. And that can be a dangerous thing.

But the flip side is there is such hope. Such encouragement that there is power within you, power that you just, there are things that you might be able to do and growth that you might be able to see happen because of your diligence and your faithfulness, your effort, the things that you trust God to do, those things can happen.

You can be transformed. So, let this, I want this to land on us to really sense, are we, are you fighting sin? Are you taking that seriously? Yeah. Are you fighting sin? Are you just tinkering around with holiness and not really doing much about it? Is Christianity a hobby? Is it, is this a thing I do?

It's important to me. Football is important to me too. My career is important. Christianity, I want it in there too. I want that in the mix. I gotta have a little God mixed in, some faith, that's good for people. Is it a hobby or is it the thing, the controlling interest of everything else in your life?

That's where it needs to be. Not just a hobby, but if it's just a side hustle, if it's on cruise control, then that's a warning sign. The little lights on your dashboard ought to be yellow, maybe even red. That's if you're just on cruise control that's a warning sign. You don't want to be presuming on God's grace.

God is patient regard. The patience of God is a salvation for you as an opportunity for you to repent and to, to turn things around because You are being complacent. If that's the case, then regard God's patience as salvation. So, if you are in unrepentant sin, repent of it today. Don't delay.

Don't wait. Don't put it off till tomorrow morning, next week, next month, next year. Don't put it off. There's an urgency to Peter's warnings because unrepentant sin, it hardens your heart. And when your heart is hard, then you just get used to it. A hard heart doesn't care as much. A hard heart just doesn't really, you're not really moved by much.

And the longer you linger in unrepentant sin, you just get used to it. So, take responsibility for your sin. Fight it. Kill it. Do whatever, do this with whatever sin the Spirit shows you, and then pursue growth. Pursue growth in the grace of God. Because God has given you wings. And he can, he, you can soar to great heights spiritually.

And you can experience a joy and a liberty. That you never thought possible, but you have to be diligent. Let's pray.

Our God your grace is, thank you. Thank you for your grace. Grace that may seem unthinkable to us. Grace that just is so beyond what maybe what we even think about or consider. And you've given us such remarkable grace. And I pray, Lord, for every man or woman or child in this room, that we will grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Lord, help us to kill our sin, to not be complacent. To kill our apathy and that you will light a fire in us so that we will respond with a desire, a zeal for purity and holiness and love. And so, help us God transform us. Lord, I pray five and a half years from now, January of 2030. That everybody in this room will be a faithful follower of Jesus, growing in grace.

They're more sanctified, more holy, and through the power of the Spirit, receiving, having received the wings that you've given us by your Spirit, that we will fly. You can do that, God. You tell us that. We see that in your Word. You give us the hope and promise that we can change. And so, I pray that we will.

Lord, I pray that right now, as we come to the table, that whoever needs to will make that first step right now. There will be a committed, dedicated change that will last, a diligence, a commitment that they will not back down from. Strengthen them now to follow through with a commitment, Lord. And we thank you, God, that you are merciful and gracious.

Thank you, God, for all the ways that you have, all the promises that we have.

We give you all praise, Lord. We worship you. Thank you, Jesus, for your death on the cross and what you did to make it all possible, God. Apart from you, we can do nothing. This is all by your power. Thank you, Jesus. We pray in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

More in Second Peter

May 5, 2024

The Patience of God

April 28, 2024

The Day of the Lord

April 14, 2024

Practical Discernment