"Grow Up"; I, II Peter
April 1, 2012

C. R. Oliver

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April 1, 2012

"Grow Up"
I, II Peter

          Many times you have heard someone say, "Just grow up." They were saying, in essence, that a more adult response or mature reasoning was needed for this or that situation.
          Actually, this response has a biblical origin. No, this advice is not an "exasperation engendered expletive" coming from a non-caring person, but the admonition of one of the gospel's earliest evangels, Simon Peter. His is a word of deep encouragement.
2 Peter 3:18
...but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Notice the summative manner in which Simon (through the Holy Spirit) says, (in essence) "everything I have said up until this point is concluded with this admonition." So, as we study the work of the apostle, (the one who merely walked past multitudes and let his shadow fall upon them for healing) we are getting his highest recommendation.

Peter is the powerful exhorter on the day of Pentecost; this is the robust figure who walked through closed prison doors and could not be kept by the power of man; this is the "walker on the water," and the valiant defender of the person of Christ. It would pay us to heed his words with renewed understanding when he says, "to grow, expand and increase in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!"

Grace creates the arena for one's personal spiritual expansion. It provides "favor" in order for one to mature into the fullness of Christ and participate as a "grown" son, rather than a dependant child. Grace challenges its holder to reach higher than ever thought possible, to exceed his limited vision and obtain Christ's mind.
(NT:837 / Strong:) GROW is hereby defined:
auzano (owx-an'-o); a prolonged form of a primary verb; to grow ("wax"), i.e. enlarge (literal or figurative, active or passive):
KJV - grow (up), (give the) increase.
In both his epistles, Simon talked about those impediments designed to stop one's growth in Grace, and he warns his readers, most explicitly in II Peter, that satan wants to completely stop them. Roadblocks, strategies, and constant streams of barriers to overcome, await the person who desires to walk the "deeper" walk.

However, it is the determined will of God for every believer to move from the status of "children" to the place of "elder." (John's epistles emphasize this progression and the victory in being such an "overcomer.")

Grace keeps the door open, which no man can shut. Grace invites the receiver to pick up his pace and see if God is not able to open venues, solve mysteries and provide whatever is needed for the forward journey. He did it for the "children of Israel" and He still does it. Grace is not static. It is not a "once for all" state. Grace is a "trail blazer provision" for those who embrace it. The Holy Ghost directs, leads and projects additional grace toward the one who dares step out. Peter knew that!

Simon linked grace with growing in the knowledge of God. Saints ought to know more about God today than they knew last week. Grace will take one into His Presence and reveal more in a flash than can be obtained through a thousand Bible schools. Grace is the enhancer for those who seek more of Him. (Readers of the Word of God slide over the word Grace, as glibly as they pass by the word "blessed." To many, it means nothing and should be hurried past in order to get to the "meat" of the N.T. writers. O' if persons would take a moment to understand, it is grace that provided the venue called "one's personal Bible" to exist. Instead of glossing over the mention of grace, they would mark its appearance with the fanfare it deserves.)

Prayer: O Lord, pour out Your grace on me, help me receive it, cause it to pour over me like the oil of anointing, until when others observe me they comment, "great grace is upon him." O, that is what we need to see on Sunday morning in worship service-thousands who are filled with the Spirit of grace and upon whom grace is carrying to newer heights in Him. O' there would be shouting; there also would be the quick application of the gifts which would consume those who attend. O' God is this not what is missing?

While the church struggles to grow its numbers, the Spirit seeks to see the church grow up! Perhaps this tension is the very reason the fabric of congregations is worn thin with messages that grow numbers, while emaciated children seek to be nourished in order to grow strong and mature.

Peter's epistle is filled with rapid fire advice for saints to prepare themselves to "grow." Just as he closed the two epistles with one admonition, he closed the first epistle with a catalyst to it.
1 Peter 5:12
exhorting and testifying that this is the true grace of God in which you stand.
The Apostle of Power declared that everything said from chapter 1, verse 1 is about "the true grace of God." (False grace is being preached everywhere these days; it would seem the body of Christ needs solid ground on which to stand!)

The grace of God which flowed through the obedience of His Son is the true grace!

Peter defined his audience at the beginning of his epistle:
1 Peter 1:1-2
To the pilgrims of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace be multiplied.
No Apostle would dare call down the multiplied Grace of God upon anyone who did not first meet the criteria of election. Grace and election are linked inseparably. Paul said it in Ephesians and repeated it in all his writings, "chosen in Him before the foundation of the world," "predestined to adoption as sons." Thousands of pulpits seek to cast pearls before swine when their congregations are filled with folks who cannot testify that they meet "these criteria." (It is on this truth that I personally stand! I testify to you "something was going on about me before I was born." That "something" was the elective grace of God choosing this saint, long before the light of day hit his eyes. His grace is elective.)

Now, Simon can say, "Grace to YOU." How powerful is "that kind of Grace."
1 Peter 1:3-6
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

6 In this you greatly rejoice,
What is it we are to greatly rejoice about? Look now at this verse:
1 Peter 1:10
Of this salvation the prophets have inquired and searched carefully, who prophesied of the grace that would come to you,
There it is!

"Prophesied grace" is what comes to the saint. The avalanche that built up through the whole of the Old Testament came crashing through with Jesus. He brought the expanded version of grace that could not be understood though the prophets sought it. They inquired-they could see that certain "something" on the horizon, but it was beyond their grasp to fathom it. What they could not get their arms around now surrounds us, rushes to us, saturates our very being and gives us an understanding of grace that Moses, Elijah, Isaiah, Hosea and even Anna, looking at the baby Jesus, could not comprehend. Centuries, which turned into millennia, could not birth it, but it was birthed in Him.

"That kind of Grace" the saint can stand upon. "That kind of Grace" extends the grasp of the believer so miracles become the norm and "the gospel of truth" can be heralded without restraint. That is the "kind of grace" which has come upon us! Hallelujah!

When the missionary stands to proclaim the great truth of God's grace, the Holy Spirit brings it into focus for his hearers and grace floods the scene and those elected of God respond and become the giants of faith they are destined to be in their native lands. Testimonies flow out from them, and mighty deeds are reported as grace does it work, and the gospel of grace does not return void.
1 Peter 1:12-16
Things which angels desire to look into.
Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; 14 as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; 15 but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 because it is written, "Be holy, for I am holy."
These are the "Grace kind of things" that angels are interested in. They marvel at its power; they rejoice for its recipients; they huddle and comment on the marvelous gifts it brings. ( If angels are so interested as to make Grace a topic of their interests, what on earth should our response be?)

Peter used a conjunctive adverb, "therefore." In other words, "based on all you have heard up to now," you have but one action to take, "gird up the loins of your mind." (If there is one thing satan is attacking, it is the mind of the saint.) This is not all-all of us are to "REST our hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to us at the revelation of Jesus Christ."

Look now at the result of the Grace Walk:
v.15-16 He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 because it is written, "Be holy, for I am holy."
Grace makes holiness a plausible reality. The "earth saint" can and must be Holy, and grace makes it possible. Instead of the loose grace, being proclaimed in pulpits across the world, there should be a "tight" grace preached---the true grace that God designed to bring us to Holiness. Peter moves quickly into rapid fire invectives, as thoughts crowd His mind.

He tackles the traditions of the Temple, and its graceless followers and says (in essence), "You are not to be like them." (Could we dare take the modern church and cry out, "You don't dare be like them." 1 Peter 1:18 says we are to be [redeemed] from our aimless conduct received by tradition from our fathers.)

Grace opens a brotherly communion, unattainable short of a purified community. (1 Peter 1:22 Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart).

Simon then introduces another "therefore," meaning what was said before is important to understanding what is about to be said.
1 Peter 2:1-3
Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, 2 as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, 3 if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious. (The Lord is the full embodiment of Grace and "is what He is.")

NT: 5543/Strong GRACIOUS chrestos (khrase-tos'); from NT: 5530; employed, i.e. (by implication) useful (in manner or morals):
KJV - better, easy, good (-ness), gracious, kind.

It has a connected meaning: NT: 5530, to furnish what is needed;
NT: 5530, to act towards one in a given manner:
Peter is moving toward his final command, "grow in grace." Why does he prompt the saint to desire the milk of the Word? The answer is simple; since the Lord is full of grace and is the embodiment of grace, we are to be like Him.

Based on laying aside the besetting things Simon mentions, we are to enable grace to work unhampered in our lives. We are to "taste" the goodness of God. Later on, he declares that if one has tasted and turns back to the things he left behind---anathema ensues.
1 Peter 2:8
"They stumble, being disobedient to the word, to which they also were appointed."

1 Peter 2:11 "Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul."
Like the elder he is, Peter offers a quick review of elements to enhance one's Grace Walk.
1 Peter 2:5
"you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ."
(Grace allows the saint to offer acceptable sacrifices---otherwise, there would be no venue for such action.)

A "therefore" again is introduced, followed by an elder's advice. (I have reduced this section to a list for space and time.)
1 Peter 2:13
"Therefore submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake."

1 Peter 2:17 "Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king. " 1 Peter 2:18 "Servants, be submissive to your masters with all fear, not only to the good and gentle, but also to the harsh."

1 Peter 3:1-2 "Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives, 2 when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear."

1 Peter 3:7 "Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered." (Notice the "grace of life" and how it differs from the "pride of life.")

1 Peter 3:8-9 "Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous; 9 not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing."

1 Peter 3:15 "But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you..."

1 Peter 4:1 "Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind..."

1 Peter 4:7-9 "But the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers. 8 And above all things have fervent love for one another, for "love will cover a multitude of sins." 9 Be hospitable to one another without grumbling."
Let it be said at this point that it takes Grace to carry out these nine mandates.

Look, now, at the following verses and how the "ministry of Grace" is to be a part of every believer's life.
1 Peter 4:10-11
"As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God."
Jesus spoke of "just and unjust" stewards. He spoke of the consequences of their actions. Those who were "good" stewards were rewarded with additional responsibilities and greater resources. Those who were "unjust" stewards had their stewardship taken away. Simon was present when Jesus gave this teaching. When he refers to being "good stewards of the manifold grace of God," his audience grasped the meaning.

Examine "manifold."
NT: 4164/Strong: Manifold: poikilos (poy-kee'-los); of uncertain derivation; motley, i.e. various in character: KJV - divers, manifold
When lexicographers translate "manifold" to be "various in character," they are not word-smithing. Grace takes on color, variation in kind, diversity in expression, myriad manifestations; it takes on depth and height, layers of application and vast surfaces of intensity. Being far from "static," it is rather to be characterized as "invasive." Grace changes things, and its stewards are life changing persons with a mandate from heaven. Carefully note the very first pinion Peter projects.
1 Peter 4:11
If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.
Perhaps this verse is the most important verse in the Bible for preachers. Certainly it would stop the mouths of most of what is said in the congregations. How long has it been since you heard a message that followed this instruction? Well, that's too long! It has been my contention that no man should mount a pulpit to speak anything short of the "direct from heaven message."

When Peter stood before the crowds on the day of Pentecost, his message came from heaven and had heaven's result. Next Sunday, a multitude of people will hear man's conjecture and see man's result. Being a bad steward always yields an unfavorable result! Preacher, this applies to YOU! The root cause of the problems facing the churches and the society of today lay squarely on your shoulders.

The manifold grace of God, in the hands of the "oracle" preacher, is one of most beautiful sights men can behold on this earth. Also, to be the minister through whom the manifold grace of God flows is an experience which cannot be adequately described-Simon was one such person.

Ministering "with the ability which God supplies" is different from "ministry" as defined today. Holy Spirit directed ministry, using "ability" supplied by Him, takes on "person" and "situation" specific quadrants. Wondrous miracles, powerful prophetic utterance, insightful words of knowledge and revelation are just a part of this manifold expression of the heart of God. Engendered by the Spirit, these grace gifts bring glory to God and magnify His Son.

I am not sure what the "conjured" conflagrations passed off as "ministry" today, glorify.
1 Peter 4:17-18
For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God?
Upon giving advice to the elders, Simon then turned to young people. Peter gives one of his greatest New Testament passages:
1 Peter 5:5-7
'God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.' 6 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, 7 casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.
He offers the key to receiving more grace and its manifold ministry in the believer's life, "humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God." By doing so, one will be exalted in due season. He continues by saying in essence "quit being burdened with care."

Casting one's care upon Jesus is just one of the three Scriptural assignations for dealing with "cares." ("Bear one another's burdens," "Every one must bear his own burdens," "Cast all your care upon Him.")

(Author's note: many a time, I have had to make a "quality decision" to hurl my care upon Him and absolutely refuse to pick it up or take it back. The root word for "casting" is to "throw upon.")

Peter challenges his readers to "resist the devil." Then, he returns to the topic of the"grace of God."
1 Peter 5:10-11
may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. 11 To Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.
Yep, the aim of Grace is to do those things in your life. Grace's job is further defined by this verse. So identified is grace with God, that Simon declared Him, "the God of all grace." He is the one "who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus." He is the one who will perfect, establish, strength and settle the believer; it is by HIS grace.

O' how indebted we are to the God of all grace. We need to draw from Him in order to stand in these days. Peter felt the same way. He acknowledges this to be the reason for writing his epistle.
1 Peter 5:12
I have written to you briefly, exhorting and testifying that this is the true grace of God in which you stand.
Heretofore we have been encouraged to "having done all to stand," but few have gone ahead and told us that we are to stand in "the true grace of God."

II Peter:
          Led by the Spirit, Simon wrote an "addendum" to all that he proclaimed in his first epistle. One thing is for sure, when he mentions Grace in his opening, we now take note.
          His opening summarizes what the second epistle is about...overcoming the hindrances to the manifold grace of God in one's life.
2 Peter 1:2-4
Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, 3 as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, 4 by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
Peter joins Paul in proclaiming "who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenlies.(Ephesians 1:1)."

Simon follows this passage by introducing the Sacred Stack Up which facilitates righteousness (similar to a Divine pyramid).
2 Peter 1:5
Add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge...(and so on)
Then, he remonstrates:
2 Peter 1:9
He who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins. (More than likely this verse will not be the prime text for next Sunday's sermon.)
Peter then interjects one of his famous "therefore's."
2 Peter 1:10-11
Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; 11 for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Similar to a "last will and testament," Peter moves into this second epistle with a warning about interlopers and deceivers. (I want the reader to note that Simon took for granted that his audience already knew these facts, but needed only a reminder. How many in today's congregation have even heard a message about these warnings? Who, of late, has taken a bulk of these passages for a text? Are we "Word" people or not?)
2 Peter 1:12-15
For this reason I will not be negligent to remind you always of these things, though you know and are established in the present truth. 13 Yes, I think it is right, as long as I am in this tent, to stir you up by reminding you, 14 knowing that shortly I must put off my tent, just as our Lord Jesus Christ showed me. 15 Moreover I will be careful to ensure that you always have a reminder of these things after my decease.
If Simon Peter felt this second epistle to be so relevant to a believer's life that he did extensive writing about it, what must be said of its content today when these very elements jeopardize the fellowship of saints? (The Spirit also led Jude to write on the same subject, so it must be an important end time message.)

Peter spared no one as he unveiled the charade of clowns who appear on the stages of religion. He carefully and methodically painted a mural, depicting deceivers and hustlers. He further claimed they were already at work. He also indicated they would increase in number and volume as the end of the world nears. (I think often of these passages and the "spokespersons" for religion who take the media platform and espouse their opinions.)

May God help us to utilize our spiritual discernment and re-read the warnings of this great apostle as he cautions about "whom we associate." (It is a great desire at this point to spend time with these verses, but in order to focus on the element of grace, it is necessary only to advocate your quick read of the internal passages not covered in this study.)

Peter wound down his treatise with an appeal for diligence.
2 Peter 3:14-18
Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless; 15 and consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation - as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, 16 as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures.

17 You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked; 18 but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen.
With reference to Paul as a beloved brother, and commenting on his epistles, his last interjection against those who are not of the "flock of God," becomes a salient reminder of today's religious mine field.
v. 16 ...also in all his (Paul's) epistles... which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures.
(Shall I linger here? Can you not think of occasion upon occasion where you have seen "Scripture Smiths" at work? I refer to those carefully engineered messages with "proof texts" applied with conjecture equaling an erroneous conclusion which has become standard fare in many circles.)

Now, our primary text appears in its proper order at the end of two epistles which reflects the mind set of a man acquainted with Grace. When he starts his sentence with "but," one can know he is disconnecting from his cautions and warnings and returning to bless "his people."
"but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ."
May each of you grow into mastery through Him.

Until Next month,

Dr. Cosby R. Oliver, PhD.


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