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Faith and Practice (2 Peter 1:3-9)

First Baptist Church https://fbcbartow.org

Faith and Practice – 2 Peter 1:3-9

Richard Jones, 8/16/20

PRACTICE makes permanentExperience doesn’t make you wiser, it only makes you olderEvaluated experience – making sure what you’re practicing is what we could and should be practicing – makes you wiserWhatever has been your practicePractice doesn’t make perfect, practice makes permanent.  If it’s not evaluated, it just creates a rut; it gets you off track and creates the illusion, for you and for others, of a track that is really a rut.  Evaluated practice makes better.

That’s how and why believers and followers of Jesus practice our faith – because we want to get better at being faithful.

As we renew our minds with the truth of God’s character, it becomes easier and more practical to verbalize our gratitude to God in prayer, and to others in praise of God.  As we do, it’s like putting stones into our ruts of faithless behavior – we literally get lifted up, and out of our ruts, as we praise Him!

If you just try to praise God as a knee-jerk reaction, in order to just feel better for the moment, it can feel like a rock in the middle of your track, and you could miss it being the stepping stone out of your rut and into the rewards God has for those who believe:  The promises of God, the power of God, and the presence of God.

In order to experience rewards in the present and in the future, we need to establish and stick to a routine.

Google defines a routine as a sequence of actions regularly followed; Merriam-Webstera regular course of procedure; Dictionary.com – an unvarying and constantly repeated formula, as of speech or action; convenient or predictable response.

I want to show you a clip of convenient or predictable response that many consider a moment of greatness in football.  In fact, the official YouTube page of the NFL categorizes it like this: “New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. makes the greatest catch of 2014, and arguably of all time.” – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zxbz3DDQzHU

VIDEO 1 – “Odell Beckham Jr. Makes Catch of the Year! _ NFL”

This next video is from his practice just before the moment of greatness we just watched.

VIDEO 2 – “Odell Beckham Jr Practice”

This moment was great to us because it had already become routine to Odell.  Greatness isn’t achieved by luck, it’s achieved by disciplineconsistency over time.

Spiritual greatness isn’t a new fad or book, it comes thru doing more of the samehearing God day by day from His own words – words recorded thousands of years ago and preserved by Him ever since.

Thomas Edison was asked how he felt about the thousand failed attempts at inventing the light bulb.  He said those weren’t a thousand failed attempts, they were the thousand necessary steps to inventing the lightbulb.

Odell Beckam Jr didn’t make that catch randomly.  Thomas Edison didn’t invent the lightbulb randomly.  And you won’t fall in love with the God of the Bible randomly, either.

We all want our life to matter more.  This morning is all about how!!!  I want 2020 to end better than it began for you.  For many, that’s a pretty low bar.  But I want it to be a chapter in your life where everything got better, and that you can look back on and know why.

A routine of more of the same is the path toward reward.  If you want something you never had, you have to do something you’ve never done.

Spiritual greatness is GodlinessMy job is as a COACH – leading you to do what you might not feel like doing in order to become what you’ve always dreamed of being!

Q: What if the truth was that if you are a believer, you lack nothing for getting there?  If you are spiritually starved, God never starved you – you starved you!  Cause you don’t know what you already possess!

2 Peter 1:33His [Jesus’] divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness.

God’s glory and goodness draws us to Him.  Romans 2:4 tells us that God’s kindness is intended to draw us to repentance.

Q: What has God’s power given us?

Jesus willingly laid down His life and was raised to life in power to give us that life and everything we will ever need to be everything He created us to be, and He has given us more than enough motivation to act on it.

1. We have everything we need for spiritual greatness (v3)

Example– Don’t just be content with knowing the Bible, where you might win at Bible trivia; we need to know the God of the Bible – so we might win at life!

The truth is, we have as much of God as we want – every single one of us.  God has given us all an “all-access pass” to Himself thru Jesus.  In fact, He created us to be with Him.  But, our sin separates us from Him.

Example– If someone is admitted into the gold vault of a bank and told to help themself, and they come out without even one cent (cause on phone texting, playing games, watching videos, checking social media), whose fault is it that they are poor?  Jesus puts the key to the treasure-chamber into our hand, and He’s urging us to take all that we want…and He’s urging us to want more!

2 Peter 1:4Through these [Jesus power, and the access to His power by way of knowing Him] He has given us His very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature [that’s now – you are able, if you believe Him in who He says you are and what He says you are able to do], having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

This is how Jesus can say in John 14:12 – “whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these”

2. The promises of Jesus found in Scripture are all we need (v4)access to the power of God dwelling in us.

A routine of Godliness caries power; it’s a routine of the life that Jesus died to give us now and forever.

You can’t stand on promises if you don’t know what they are. (Chick-fil-a – 1st 100 get free meals for a year)

If you think you are not that powerful, you’ll live that way.  If you don’t know about or believe there’s a reward or promise that you can claim, you won’t bother.

But here’s the deal:  Everything is provided!  Everything is paid for!  And all the steps are given for us, steps that Jesus promises to guide us in personally as we take them with Him.

There’s no greater upset than when a believer, with God’s Holy Spirit in us, sins.

2 Peter 1:5-7For this very reason [in view of all this, make every effort to respond to God’s promises], make every effort to add to your faith goodness [because God is good and intends for you to be as well]; and to goodness, knowledge [knowing from His Word what God considers good]; and to knowledge, self-control [choosing to be who He says you are and becoming what you say you believe]; and to self-control, perseverance [consistency over time, not giving up – routine]; and to perseverance, godliness [looking more and more like God all the time!]; and to godliness, mutual affection [ministering to each other, ministering to the ministers]; and to mutual affection, love.

3. Make every effort to establish a routine towards Godliness.

Example– You gotta’ actually get up a few minutes earlier (which means you gotta’ go to bed in time to be able to).  Setting your alarm won’t make you Godly in and of itself – you gotta’ do something with it.

God sends every bird food, but He doesn’t throw it in their nest.  God has provided everything for living a Godly life, and with power, but I must do something, work, to make it mine.  We gotta’ do some work to make it ours!

Example– Things work better when they’re plugged in.  A new computer won’t work any better than my old one if the outlet, the source of power, is not working.

I would like to show you how to begin plugging into the power that is already yours!

S.O.A.P. (Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer)

Scripture – Talk with God about what you’re about to read- encounter God!

Observation – Look for passages that stick out to you.

Application – Look for ways and situations in your life to live this out, as well as for creating and seizing opportunities to get your foot in the door into other’s lives who need eternal life.

Don’t be educated beyond your level of obedience!

Prayer – – Write it out, asking God to give you the wisdom to understand what to do next and the boldness to follow through.

2 Peter 1:8-9For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ [ie. you will always get something out of it!]. But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins. [And you’ll live like it, too.]

4. Establishing a ROUTINE – consistency over time – is essential to experiencing the reward that Jesus offers to us (v8-9)

Athletes play sports to win.  That takes routine.  We all want to matter more and to win at life.

Develop this routine so you don’t miss the reward!  That’s what Jesus died for, beginning with life that starts now and lasts forever with Him!  I’ve heard it said this way – “The New Testament is not just the New Testament; it’s the last will and testament of someone who had to die to give you everything!”

It’s gonna’ cost you something – but only what you were never created for in the first place.  Otherwise, you’ll live something you were never created to be. (Laziness, time spent on aimless, dead-end stuff, un-healthy relationships, ill-gotten gain – stuff that’s not rightfully yours in the first place!)

Next Steps

1. Begin or continue plugging into the power that is already yours in Christ by learning what promises Jesus has made to us and the ingredients He wants to add into our faith.  You can use the study tool, “S.O.A.P.”:

2. Intentionally trust the promises of Jesus more consistently with the wisdom and boldness He provides.

3. Watch for and seize opportunities in your life to live out what you’re learning from Jesus every day.