Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Christian Character

2 Peter 1:1-7 Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ: 2 Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, 3 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: 4 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. 5 And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; 6 And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; 7 And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.

We all get saved the same way—BY FAITH (v. 1—“obtained like precious faith”).
Faith is believing and depending on what God has said in His word. I’m a sinner. As a sinner, I deserve to go to hell. Wages of sin is death. Jesus is God coming to earth in human flesh. He lived a perfect life. He loved me and died for sins on the cross. He became my substitute. He was buried and arose from the dead. He has ascended to the right hand of the Father. He will save whosoever comes to Him in faith for salvation. 1972. I made a decision to trust Him to save me based on what the Bible said—Not based on a tingle, a feeling, or any works I have done. God saved me by His grace through FAITH. I became partaker of the divine nature (v. 4). God has become part of me. I’m a new creature since I placed my faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

For the Christian, everything starts with faith because without faith it is impossible to please God and whatsoever is not of faith is sin. Faith in Christ is the foundation upon which everything else is built in the Christian life (v. 5).
But faith is not the end of it (v. 5—“And beside this…”). After faith, I am exhorted to develop Christian character in my life (vs. 5-7).

The EXHORTATION to Christian character (v. 5).

Difference between character in general and Christian character. There are unsaved people who have a degree of moral integrity. However, Christian character is built upon faith in God (v. 5).

A. Responsibility to develop.

Not born with character. You are born without any character. Not automatic! Character is a matter of training and discipline. Parents begin the process of molding character into their children’s lives (Prov. 22:6).
If you are going to pour concrete, the first thing you do is set the form. Once the form is in place and secure, then you pour that pliable, moldable concrete into the form. If you keep it in the form long enough, it will set up in the shape you intended for it to take. If you take the form away too soon, it will take its own form.
A parent must determine ahead of time what form is right for his child. This involves setting boundaries and restraints whereby a child is formed and molded. There is liberty, but within the boundaries of the form.
They must be kept in the form until they are set, so that when the form is removed they will not depart from those character traits formed within the mold.

B. Requirement of diligence (v. 5).

Diligence means “given priority; zealous; focused, decisive, careful.” The opposite of diligence is casual, haphazardness, careless, sloppy.

ILLUS—Going to the hospital for surgery. How careful do you want the surgeon to be when he uses his scalpel? You want him to give ALL DILIGENCE! You want him to give his most earnest attention. You want him focused, alert and undistracted! You do NOT want him cutting on you in a casual haphazard way!

Problem with Christians is they are TOO CASUAL and CARELESS in their Christian life. (Casual in giving; careless in church attendance; and behavior).

It is almost impossible to develop Christian character in a person who does not have character in general (2 Tim. 2:2). Paul told Timothy do make disciples out of FAITHFUL MEN. Why? Because you cannot disciple an unfaithful man! A person unfaithful coming to church and studying his Bible will never develop Christian character!