How painful almost to get a situation, but to miss it.
How vexing almost to catch a plane, but to be left at the terminal.
How sad almost to escape drowning, but to be engulfed in the water.
But, oh, how above-all-things terrible to be almost a Christian and yet in the lake of fire for eternity!
It has been said that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. May it not be said also that it will be trodden by millions of almost-Christians!
Oh, be warned, then, against being an almost-er, for to be almost saved is to be certainly lost! ── Michael P. Green《Illustrations for Biblical Preaching》
When events don't go as you had planned and you are feeling like a complete failure, remember what that great missionary to China, J. Hudson Taylor, once said:
I have failed,
I am failing,
I will fail,
But Jesus never fails.
── Michael P. Green《Illustrations for Biblical Preaching》
The Greeks had a race in their Olympic games that was unique. The winner was not the runner who finished first. It was the runner who finished with his torch still lit. I want to run all the way with the flame of my torch still lit for Him.
J. Stowell, Fan The Flame, Moody, 1986, p. 32.
A man once came to Gipsy Smith, the celebrated English evangelist of an earlier time, and asked him how to have revival. Asked Gipsy, “Do you have a place where you can pray?”
“Yes,” was the reply.
“Tell you what to do, you go to that place, and take a piece of chalk along. Kneel down there, and with the chalk draw a complete circle all around you-and pray for God to send revival on everything inside of the circle. Stay there until He answers-and you will have revival.” ── Michael P. Green《Illustrations for Biblical Preaching》
Ⅰ. God is its Source. “ The Father hath life in Himself” (John 5:26).
Ⅱ. The risen Christ is its Channel. “ Who is made……after the power of an endless life” (Heb.7:16).
Ⅲ. The Holy Spirit is its Power. “ The Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free” (Rom.8:2).
Ⅳ. Faith is its Receiver. “ He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life” (John 3:36).
Ⅴ. Fruit is its Evidence. “ Ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life” (Rom.6:22).
Ⅵ. Christ Himself is its Embodiment. “ This is the true God and Eternal Life” (1.John 5:20).
Ⅶ. Glory is its Manifestation. “ When Christ, who is our Life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with Him in glory” (Col.3:4).
Ⅷ. Eternity is its Duration. “ I give unto them eternal life, and they shall never perish” (John 10:28).
Ⅸ. Union with Christ is its Meaning. “ Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth My flesh……hath eternal life” (John 6:53,54).
Ⅹ. Its Secret is knowing God and Christ. “ This is life eternal, that they might know Thee and Jesus Christ” (John 17:3).
── F.E. Marsh《Five Hundred Bible Readings》
Growing In The Knowledge Of Jesus Christ
1. An important element in having a closer walk with God is fulfilling
the command given by the apostle Peter in 2 Pe 3:18
a. What does it mean to "grow in the knowledge of our Lord and
Savior Jesus Christ"?
b. How can we be sure that we are growing in this "knowledge"?
2. Peter has defined what is meant to grow in the knowledge of Christ,
and his definition is found in 2 Pe 1:2-11
3. In this lesson, we shall:
a. Look more closely at what is involved in "Growing In The
Knowledge Of Jesus Christ"
b. Consider reasons why we should desire to grow in this "knowledge"
I. WHAT "GROWING IN THE KNOWLEDGE OF JESUS CHRIST" INVOLVES
A. FIRST, IT INVOLVES THE DEVELOPMENT OF EIGHT "GRACES"...
1. These "graces" are listed in 2 Pe 1:5-7
2. Briefly defined...
a. FAITH is "conviction, strong assurance"
b. VIRTUE is "moral excellence, goodness"
c. KNOWLEDGE is "correct insight"
d. SELF-CONTROL is "self-discipline"
e. PERSEVERANCE is "bearing up under trials"
f. GODLINESS is "godly character out of devotion to God"
g. BROTHERLY KINDNESS is "love toward brethren"
h. LOVE is "active goodwill toward those in need"
3. Notice carefully 2 Pe 1:8
a. We must "abound" in these eight "graces"
b. Only then can it be said that we are "growing in the
knowledge of Jesus Christ"
4. Therefore we are discussing something more than simply
increasing our "intellectual" knowledge of Jesus Christ!
a. Though such knowledge has a place, it is just one of the
b. Peter is talking about growing in a FULLER AND MORE
PERSONAL knowledge of Jesus Christ!
1) Which comes by developing the "Christ-like" attributes
2) The more we grow in these "graces", the more we really
"know" Jesus (for He is the perfect personification of
5. That it involves more than intellectual knowledge is also
evident from the Greek word used for knowledge in 2 Pe 1:2-3,
a. The word is epiginosko, meaning "to become thoroughly
acquainted with, to know thoroughly, to know accurately,
know well" (THAYER)
b. Such knowledge comes only as we DEMONSTRATE these "Christ-
like graces" in our lives
B. SECOND, IT INVOLVES DEVELOPING THESE "GRACES" IN CONJUNCTION
WITH EACH OTHER...
1. Notice the word "add" (or "supply") in 2 Pe 1:5
a. Before each grace mentioned, the word is implied
b. The word in Greek is epichoregeo
1) "Originally, to found and support a chorus, to lead a
choir, to keep in tune"
2) "Then, to supply or provide"
c. This word then suggests the idea of "each grace working in
harmony with the others to produce an overall effect"
2. Notice also the preposition "to" (or "in") in 2 Pe 1:5-7
a. This suggests that "each grace is to temper and make
perfect the grace that goes before it"
b. To illustrate:
1) "to knowledge (add) self-control" - the grace of self-
control enables one to apply properly the knowledge one
2) "to self-control (add) perseverance" - self-control in
turn needs the quality of perseverance to be consistent
day after day
3. Thus each grace is necessary!
a. They must all be developed in conjunction with each other
b. We cannot be selective and just pick the ones we like and
leave others behind
C. THIRD, IT INVOLVES DILIGENT EFFORT...
1. Notice the word "diligence" in 2 Pe 1:5,10
2. It means "earnestness, zeal, sometimes with haste"
3. To grow in the knowledge of Jesus Christ requires much effort
4. We do not "accidently" or "naturally" develop these graces!
[Is the effort worth it? In the context of this passage Peter gives
FIVE reasons why we should "give all diligence" to grow in this
knowledge of Jesus Christ...]
II. WHY WE SHOULD BE "GROWING IN THE KNOWLEDGE OF JESUS CHRIST"
A. GRACE AND PEACE ARE "MULTIPLIED" IN THIS KNOWLEDGE - 2 Pe 1:2
1. "Grace" and "peace" are common forms of greeting in the New
a. Grace - the greeting which requests God's unmerited favor
upon the person addressed
b. Peace - the greeting requesting the natural result of God's
2. Note that these two blessings are "multiplied" in the
knowledge of Jesus Christ
a. All men experience God's favor and its result to some
degree - cf. Mt 5:45
b. But only in Christ can one enjoy the "fulness" of God's
favor and peace - Ep 1:3; Ph 4:6-7
B. ALL THINGS PERTAINING TO LIFE AND GODLINESS ARE GIVEN THROUGH
THIS KNOWLEDGE - 2 Pe 1:3,4
1. "Life" in this context refers to our spiritual life and well-
2. "Godliness" refers to the pious conduct which comes out of
devotion to God
3. Only as we grow in this knowledge do we enjoy the true, full
life available by God's divine power!
a. Which includes "exceedingly great and precious promises"
b. Which enables us to be "partakers of the divine nature"
c. Which can free us from the "corruption that is in the world
C. FAILURE TO GROW IN THIS KNOWLEDGE RESULTS IN SPIRITUAL "MYOPIA"
AND "AMNESIA" - 2 Pe 1:9
1. Our religion is "short-sighted" if we are not growing in the
knowledge of Jesus Christ!
a. For what is the ultimate objective of being a Christian?
b. To become like Christ! - cf. Ro 8:29; Co 3:9-11
c. As we have seen, this is what it really means to grow in
the knowledge of Christ
2. Failure to so grow is an indication that we forgot why we were
redeemed by the blood of Christ in the first place!
a. To have our sins forgiven, yes...
b. But then, that we might present ourselves to God and become
what He wants us to be - LIKE HIS SON!
D. WE WILL NEVER STUMBLE - 2 Pe 1:10
1. This does not mean we will never sin - cf. 1 Jn 1:8,10
2. The word "stumble" in Greek means "to fall into misery, become
wretched; cf. the loss of salvation" (Thayer)
3. We will never stumble so as to fall short of our ultimate
4. But this is true ONLY if we are "giving all diligence" to grow
in the knowledge of Christ and thereby "making our calling and
E. AN ENTRANCE INTO THE "
" WILL BE ABUNDANTLY EVERLASTING KINGDOM
SUPPLIED - 2 Pe 1:11
1. This "everlasting kingdom" is likely the "heavenly kingdom"
referred to by Paul in 2 Ti 4:18
2. In other words, the ultimate destiny of the redeemed!
3. What is meant by the idea of an "abundant entrance"?
a. "You may be able to enter, not as having escaped from a
shipwreck, or from fire, but as it were in triumph."
b. By possessing the eight graces, we will be able to live
victoriously in this life and to joyously anticipate what
lies ahead - cf. 2 Ti 4:6-8
1. These five reasons should sufficiently motivate us to be diligent in
growing in the knowledge of Jesus Christ
2. Give all diligence to make our calling and election sure, and have a
closer walk with God, by making every effort to add these "graces"
to our lives!
3. Or have we forgotten that we were purged from our old sins?
a. We have, if we are apathetic in our desire to grow in these
b. If so, we need to repent and pray for forgiveness!
SOME QUESTIONS TO STIMULATE YOUR THINKING...
1. Which of these "graces" do you think you have developed best?
2. In which are you most lacking?
3. Do you feel you are making progress in the "knowledge of Jesus
4. If not, what can you do to begin making progress?