"A CLOSER WALK WITH GOD" Growing In The Knowledge Of Jesus Christ INTRODUCTION 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 graces necessary 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 defined above 2) The more we grow in these "graces", the more we really "know" Jesus (for He is the perfect personification of these "graces") 5. That it involves more than intellectual knowledge is also evident from the Greek word used for knowledge in 2 Pe 1:2-3 , 8 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 has 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 Testament 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 favor 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- being 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 through lust" 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 salvation! 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 election sure" E. AN ENTRANCE INTO THE "EVERLASTING KINGDOM" WILL BE ABUNDANTLY 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." (Bengel) 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 CONCLUSION 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 "graces"! 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 Christ"? 4. If not, what can you do to begin making progress?