Being Useful - 2 Peter 1:1-11

1.      If you bought an “Easy Bake Oven” for your child at Christmas, what would give you the confidence that you could put it together successfully? (Detailed assembly instructions.)

2.      How would you feel if you attempted to put it together and realized that you were missing a part?

Attempting to put something together without an essential part is an exercise in futility. It may surprise some believers, but we already have everything we need—the correct resources in the appropriate measures—to live purposeful, victorious Christian lives and to fulfill the mission God has ordained for each of us!

Godly living is an essential part of following Jesus Christ.

“In his first letter, Peter emphasized suffering and the role it was playing in the lives of believers. In his second letter, Peter emphasized practical Christian living. Second Peter emphasizes faith and godly living and warns against tolerating false teachers who are leading people away from the truth. The letter ends with the certainty of Christ’s return and the impact it has on believers in creating a desire for holy living.” (PSG Pg. 103 Understand the Context.)

To recognize false teaching we must study the Scripture to know the truth, thus we study.

(Read 2 Peter 1:1-2.)

 

Stand On God’s Complete Provision! Read 2 Peter 1:3-4

 

1.      What resources do you find are available to Christians in these verses? (We share in divinity. We have the indwelling Spirit of God living in us, and He provides wisdom and guidance for our lives.)

Christians are saved, not by their own abilities, but by God’s power. Because of that salvation, God has given His children everything we need for life and godliness. 

Understanding that we are vessels of divinity should be an empowering, emboldening experience. We can rise above the limits of humanity to live much bigger, nobler, dramatically God-inspired lives because we are indwelled by God’s Spirit!

 

2.      How does knowing that God has provided everything we need give us confidence in serving Him? (Those who never embrace the resources God provides may fail to live victoriously or fully embrace God’s purposes for them. Instead of living victoriously, they live defeated lives, and for believers that is never necessary.)

Even though we have the Holy Spirit living in us we still have freedom of choice to ignore the voice of God and choose our own way to live. God will not force His will upon us!

We must build into our lives in order to build into other’s lives.

Even though God initiated salvation and provided everything necessary for godliness, believers still have responsibility to pursue spiritual growth. Peter encouraged Christians to make every effort to supplement their faith.

 

Cultivate Your Character! Read 2 Peter 1:5-9

 

1.      What are the virtues listed here that promote spiritual growth in the life of a believer? (Faith, Goodness, Knowledge, Self-control, Endurance, Godliness, Brotherly Affection, and Love.)

2.      In the order they are listed in the passage, how would you define each of these virtues?

3.      What are some ways a believer’s life could demonstrate each quality?

4.      In verse 8, what did Peter say was the reason for listing each of these qualities? (If believers were growing in these qualities, then they would not be useless or unfruitful in their knowledge of Jesus Christ.)

The word for “useless” was used to describe idle workers who were wasting their time in the marketplace instead of working.

5.      Why is it important to be useful and fruitful in God’s kingdom?

6.      What obstacles might you need to overcome to develop the virtues listed?

(Consider preparing a list of virtues found in the following 2 Peter 1:5-6; 2 Cor. 6:6; Gal. 5:22-23; Col. 3:12-14; 1 Tim. 4:12; 6:11. Develop a table showing the virtues in each passage and noting which virtues appear multiple times.)

 

Even though God has provided everything needed for believers to live godly lives, it is possible that we become shortsighted and live like those who do not believe. When that occurs, it is important for that person to go back and re-examine his or her calling and commitment.

 

Live with Assurance! Read 2 Peter 1:10-11

 

Peter was not suggesting that God has any doubts about believers’ faith or calling. It is the individuals who need to be sure.

 

Living in victory does not mean that we will never have a problem nor will never sin again. Problems will come, and sometimes we yield to temptation. If we stumble as

Christians and fall into sin, even though our eternal destiny is secure, we are not insulated from the consequences of our sin.

1.      What evidence could a person point to that proves a person is truly following Christ?

2.      How does assurance of salvation impact how a person lives? (Working on our Christian character is a testament that we have saving faith. It is not that virtue saves, but virtue symbolizes our salvation. Our Christian character is a living witness to Jesus Christ.)

3.      What is the benefit of building up our character as Christians when we know that, despite sin flaws, our salvation is secure? (A lack of desire to become more Christ-like reveals the failure to fully appreciate being forgiven of sin and given an eternal inheritance in Heaven!)

 

 

Summarize and Challenge!

 

Assembling something without all the parts that is necessary is not only frustrating but impossible. Peter told his readers that they had everything necessary to live a victorious life in Christ.

1.      What has God done for you that assures you He will empower you for His service?

2.      How has this session encouraged you to grow in your faith?

3.      What can our class do to promote Christian growth in the lives of our members?

 

Self-examination:

4.      What would a formal evaluation of your character as a Christian reveal?

5.      How would you rate yourself on a scale of one to ten in the areas of faith, knowledge, self-control, patience, brotherly affection and overall godliness?

 

Consider the weaknesses that make your Christian life less than victorious. Develop a plan for improvement.

 

Prayer.