The Building Blocks of Faith

The Building Blocks of Faith
Pastor Tom Hughes
2 Peter 1: 5-11
2Pe 1:5 And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;
2Pe 1:6 And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;
2Pe 1:7 And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.
2Pe 1:8 For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
2Pe 1:9 But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.
2Pe 1:10 Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:
2Pe 1:11 For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
 
This is optimism month! The only way to have a positive outlook on life is to live a life of faith! Faith in Jesus Christ will be the foundation of an optimistic outlook that will lift your spirit and transport you higher. Faith is the wind beneath your wings. Once you have the gift of faith and are exercising it, you’re ready to build a solid house of faith. Faith is the key to success in life. It’s the key to building a Christian Character. Faith is the key that unlocks the door to happiness and to heaven. Through prayer you can exercise your faith and enter into a relationship with Jesus Christ. You can ask your Savior to dwell within you, to make you a new creature and to live out His life in you. Col. 1: 27 “Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Gal. 2: 20 “The life I now live, I live by the faith of the Son of God”.
CHRIST IN YOU! Now THAT’S a reason for optimism!
 
In this passage of scripture Peter is admonishing us to begin to grow up in Christ. To not be satisfied being a baby in Jesus, but to begin the process of growing up into a mature, transformed Christian who lets God help them to develop the character that God wants you to have. Peter tells us that we need to add virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, Kindness and charity to our faith. That’s quite a list for us to work on. Some say that faith means you don’t need works, or that if you preach righteousness by faith you are downplaying God’s law.  This implies that preaching Christ somehow diminishes the importance of works. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, you begin to see true works being added to faith by the Holy Spirit. Righteousness by faith is the foundation upon which you add the building blocks of faith. Christ is the rock you build your spiritual house on. You receive Christ and His righteousness BY FAITH. And the works that you do by faith will truly stand the test of time! So get busy brothers and sisters! Add to your FAITH!
 
Faith is the only thing that can bring forth true lasting obedience from God’s people. Notice what the Apostle Paul says in Romans chapter 16:
 
Romans 16: 25-27
Rom 16:25 Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, 
 Rom 16:26 But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith
Rom 16:27 To God only wise, [be] glory through Jesus Christ forever. Amen. 
 
So God want to establish you in the gospel through the preaching of Jesus Christ according to the revealed Mystery or Gospel! God made this known to the whole world to demonstrate the obedience of faith, not the obedience of works. There is a big difference! God calls our obedience the OBEDIENCE OF FAITH! Without faith works is dead! But added to faith, obedience adds to the power of the gospel and brings glory to God!
 
So let’s look at these Building blocks of faith that we add too, or build upon:
 
Virtue- Moral excellence and righteousness; goodness; effective force or power
 
Knowledge - (1) The fact or condition of knowing something with familiarity gained through experience or association (2) acquaintance with or understanding of a science, art, or technique
 
Temperance-1 moderation in action, thought, or feeling : restraint 2 a : habitual moderation in the indulgence of the appetites or passions b : moderation in or abstinence from the use of alcoholic beverages
 
Patience- The capacity, quality, or fact of being patient. Synonyms: patience, long-suffering, resignation, forbearance These nouns denote the capacity to endure hardship, difficulty, or inconvenience without complaint. Patience emphasizes calmness, self-control, and the willingness or ability to tolerate delay. “ Our patience will achieve more than our force” (Edmund Burke).
 
Godliness- Careful observance of, or conformity to, the laws of God; the state or quality of being godly; piety. 1 Tim 4:8 “Godliness is profitable unto all things.”
 
Brotherly Kindness- The Greek word for brotherly kindness is transliterated "Philadelphia," a compound involving two words: "phileo" (love) and "adelphos" (brother). It literally means "the love of brothers." As used in the New Testament, "philadelphia" describes the love which Christians cherish for each other as brethren (Thayer). Romans 12:10 reveals that it is through brotherly kindness that we can have "kind affection" toward one another. It is brotherly kindness, therefore, that provides a true sense of family in our association as members of the Lord's body.
 
Charity- benevolence - an inclination to do kind or charitable acts, supernatural virtue, theological virtue - according to Christian ethics: one of the three virtues (faith, hope, and charity) created by God to round out the natural virtues
 
God commands that we don’t just sit still and do nothing to develop our characters in cooperation with the Holy Spirit. Once we understand righteousness by faith, and are covered by the White Robe, we are to build on the foundation of Righteousness by faith, adding God’s building blocks of faith. Yes, even our best works are filthy rags, compared to Jesus. But in the White Robe, our works become a sweet-smelling offering when they are the obedience OF FAITH!
 
Peter has outlined the true path to a rich and rewarding life. He then goes on to rebuke those who are spiritually lazy and indifferent about their lives. Those who choose to do nothing to develop a Christlike life are described with several unflattering adjectives:
 
Barren-1. a. Not producing offspring.
                  b. Incapable of producing offspring.
              2. Lacking vegetation, especially useful vegetation.
              3. Unproductive of results or gains; unprofitable: barren efforts
 
No wonder this person never wins another soul to Jesus! He has accepted Jesus and is quite content to reap the benefits of salvation, but is so immature and self-centered that they never develop a sense of mission, or feel the need to add these virtues to their faith and benefit others in their family or communities. They have unproductive results and their best efforts are unsuccessful. Could it be that your life is unhappy or unsuccessful because you are incapable of producing offspring? Incapable of being a witness to others because of your immature or self-centered lifestyle? Peter has given us the key to success, are you willing to begin making efforts to add these attributes to your character?
 
Unfruitful- 1. Not bearing fruit or offspring; barren.
                     2. Not productive of a good or useful result.
 
Unfruitful is another way of saying barren. You relationship is not bearing fruit. It’s not producing anything good or useful. You’re not letting God use you to do any missionary work, either in the church, or the community. You’re so heavenly minded you’re no earthly good! What are you doing to benefit others? Donations or time, money, or talent to benefit your family, church or community?
 
Blind- 1. Unable or unwilling to perceive or understand: blind to a lover's faults.
            2. Not based on reason or evidence; unquestioning
 
Peter is saying a person who refuses to add these attributes to their lives is blind to their lack of success or accomplishments. They are looking at their lives with rose colored glasses. Even though they have not succeeded in producing offspring, or any good or useful result, they are blind to the possibilities of what could be accomplished if they partnered with Jesus and allowed the Holy Spirit to use them as useful instruments of his grace.
Don’t be unwilling to perceive the Spirits calling! He is calling you to a fruitful, useful life that will lead others to Christ and will be successful.
 
Forgetful- 1. Tending or likely to forget.
                   2. Marked by neglectful or heedless failure to remember: forgetful of        one's responsibilities.
 
Just forget it! Don’t worry about it! Does a Christian have responsibilities to his family, his church, his community and especially to Jesus? Of course we do. But immature and self-centered Christians think they are the center of the universe and it’s all about them! Their convenient forgetfulness of their duty is what allows them to lead an unproductive life of isolation and not worry about their responsibilities. God challenges us today to stop making our salvation the only thing in life we are concerned about. Once we come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, we need to build on that foundation and let Jesus live in us! So we have a choice to make. We can choose to be barren, unfruitful, blind, forgetful and spiritually lazy Christians. Or we can choose to recognize that God considers the development of a Christlike character very important, and make it a priority in our lives to build additions on our house of faith! It all starts right here, right now! We make a decision today to embrace these values and prayerfully submit to the Holy Spirits influence so that Christ will live out his life in us, and develop in our characters these attributes so that we can be a blessing to our families and our communities and may Jesus be glorified for it!