Are we growing in grace?
2 Peter 3:18 “But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be glory both now and forever. Amen.”
Peter knew a lot about this; having denied the Lord three times, once even before a maid.
Yet he was restored, and became the first preacher of the gospel after Pentecost. Three thousand were saved that first day.(Acts 2:41)
He had grown some since he had bragged about his loyalty; and then failed Jesus so terribly.
He had learned his own weakness….when his courage and devotion failed…..even when he loved the Lord….
After he was filled with the Spirit on the day of Pentecost, he learned how to preach……he learned about persecution,…and determined they must obey God rather than man…
…..about the Lord including the Gentiles into the church….
….about the importance of the Word of God….
….and he learned that we are never “too sanctified” to get tripped up.
Galatians 2:11-13 “But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed.
For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision.
And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried with their dissimulation.”
When this happened, Paul corrected him in front of everyone there…..”when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel…”
Was this Peter,….the one who had opened the door to Gentiles….yet, tripped up? How could this be?
Because we are never out of danger, this side of heaven.
And Peter was weak before the influence of men,……for he was not yielding to the Holy Spirit….he let his emotions lead him, instead.
It says, “….fearing them which were of the circumcision.”
Fear is a terrible enemy….how many have stumbled under the “roar” of the devil, causing fear
(1 Peter 5:8-9 here Peter warns of this very thing).
Peter, corrected, though….went on to preach many places….taking with him Mark…discipling him…till he was a old man…
But he knew he was not done growing….he would continue to grow as long as he would be “in this tabernacle”…..for he (and we) should never stop learning by the Holy Spirit, in our experiences of life about Jesus, and what He will do for us.
And so when he was old, he warned others about this very thing…”that ye may be able after my decease to have these things always in remembrance.”(verse 1:16)
2 Peter 1:2-4, 12-13 “Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord,
According as His divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him that hath called us to glory and virtue:
Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and be established in the present truth.
Yea, I think it meet, as long as I am in this tabernacle (body), to stir you up by putting you in remembrance:”
Every true Christian stands in need of growing in grace.
To do so, must “eat” the Bread of Life which is Christ.
That involves fellowship with Him….in our everyday tasks.
(Are we spending time with our lovely Lord?)
We must “drink” the water of Life freely which is His Holy Spirit.
That involves yielding ourselves to His guidance and convictions.
If we are to become strong Christians, and not babes, we need to grow.
We need to use what He gives us and gain experience with Him.
(If Jesus were here on earth, and came and invited you to follow Him, would you?
But, though He is not here on earth,…..He is still inviting us to:
Come and Follow Me into the everyday experiences of today, tomorrow, and onward.)
Hebrews 5:14 “But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.”
We have spiritual senses, as well as natural ones.
We are to have “hearing ears” to hear what the Lord says to us. There is no audible voice; but the internal Voice which guides us.
We are to have “seeing eyes”……eyes of faith…..enlightened by the Holy Spirit and His Word.
We are to have the sense of “smell”.
This Spiritual sense tells us if a thing is good or rotten, just like our nose does. It is discernment.
And we have “taste”. We are called to taste and see that the Lord is good. (Psalms 34:8)
That means, we are to experience His sweetness in the comfort, help, and word He gives.
It is of the Holy Spirit, as all of these are:
but we are to use His enabling, and learn by the experience. This is how we grow in grace.
Peter did…..and when he was old, said….
….remember my example, both failures, and successes……and learn of Christ, by the Holy Spirit.
If we sit on the sidelines….we certainly may be Christians,…
….but we will not grow in the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and become strong,….having those “all things that pertain to life….and godliness…” (think of it!)
Again, Peter did…..perfectly? No, but he learned.
Are we willing to learn of the Holy Spirit?