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Prove It! Part 4

Destined for Victory / Pastor Paul Sheppard
The Truth Network Radio
November 10, 2020 7:00 am

Prove It! Part 4

Destined for Victory / Pastor Paul Sheppard

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November 10, 2020 7:00 am

The importance of possessing godly qualities that will increase our faith in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

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Whenever you see the Bible talk about spiritual fruit or spiritual character traits, these are traits that the Holy Spirit cultivates in our lives with our cooperation. He doesn't do it apart from you.

In fact, you can fight him on something. Hello and welcome to Destined for Victory with Pastor Paul Shepherd, Senior Pastor at Destiny Christian Fellowship in Fremont, California. You know, there are so many things God longs to give us, so many promises He wants to release into our lives, but He can't do it without our willing participation. Today Pastor Paul talks about the fruit of the Spirit, gifts that God gives to us as we grow in our faith and seek to become more like Christ.

You and I have been designed to bear this fruit for all the world to see, but as you'll discover in the next few minutes, something is required on our part in order for that to take place. Stay right here or visit pastorpaul.net to listen on demand. That's pastorpaul.net. Now, here is Pastor Paul with today's Destined for Victory message, Prove It. 2 Peter chapter 1 and verse 5. For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness, and to goodness knowledge, and to knowledge self-control, and to self-control perseverance, and to perseverance godliness, and to godliness, brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For 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.

But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins. Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure, for if you do these things, you will never fall, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. We continue our focus on this passage in 2 Peter as this apostle challenges the body of Christ to prove that we are the elect of God by the way we live our lives. When we open the series, we discuss the fact that so many people talk about election in purely theological terms, but Peter is saying, make sure that there is a clear indication by the way you live your life and the way you're allowing God to develop you in the Christian walk, there's a clear indication that you are indeed a child of God. We cannot afford to be people whose co-workers are shocked to know that we are Christian.

We cannot afford to be people whose family members that don't live in your household, but they see you every year or so when you get together. When they discover you're going to church, they ought to already have some clear indication that that was occurring because there is real change in your life. In other words, if you're ever indicted for being a Christian, Peter is saying there ought to be enough evidence to incriminate you. You ought to have the goods. There ought to be evidence that we are children of God. And as he makes this case, he has been telling us in these opening verses that we have spent the first three messages in the series focusing on that God has given us grace and peace and abundance. In fact, he has given us divine power so that we can have everything we need for life and godliness. We've discovered that it's through knowing Christ that we have access to everything we need. He has also talked about the fact that we have exceeding great and precious promises. And in the last message, I took some time and talked about the promises, just a few, just a sampling of the promises of God for all of our lives.

The fact of the matter is God has made you and me some wonderful promises. And we've got to learn to take God at his word so that we can become the people he has called us to be. Now as Peter continues having laid the foundation of discussing the promises of God and our access to the nature of God, he now says for this very reason, because of God's promises, because of our ability to tap into his divine nature, he says for this reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness.

Now I want to pause long enough to help you understand before we start looking at these fruits or these character traits that he lists here, notice what he says. He says we are to make every effort to add them to our lives. I want to help you escape the notion, get away from the notion that whatever God is going to do in my life, I'll just wake up one morning and it's there. That's not Bible teaching. I would call that silver platterology.

I would call that silver platterology, that notion that God is just going to bring everything into your life that you need on a silver platter, that you just lay up in the bed and some servant of God, some angel is going to come and serve you with the things we are about to talk about. The goodness and the knowledge and the self-control and the perseverance and all the things listed here. I want to let you know that unless we heed the words of verse 5 and make every effort to add them to our lives, we will not see that kind of fruit develop in our lives.

It doesn't happen overnight and it doesn't happen automatically, but whenever you see the Bible talk about spiritual fruit or spiritual character traits, these are traits that the Holy Spirit cultivates in our lives with our cooperation. God doesn't do it apart from you. In fact, you can fight him on some things.

I wouldn't recommend you do it, but you can fight him on some things. There are some people, for instance, who don't want patience. And so God will deal with you. You're too impatient to be my child, to do what I've called you to do. I'm trying to teach you patience and some people are fighting. Some of you have been fighting against that for a long time, but you've got to know that the Holy Spirit will outlast you and he will keep dealing with you about the same things if necessary until you surrender and your life will become less and less in quality until you surrender to God.

And so you don't have any automatic fruit that's going to be developed in your life. Instead, as Peter says here, we must make every effort. It is with our cooperation. Now understand clearly what's going on here. He is suggesting that because of God's calling on our lives and because of his promises, there is divine power to pull these things off.

Here's the good news. If I'm a Christian, if I'm a child of God, there is no question but that God can make me the person who bears this fruit that I am supposed to be. There's no question about God's ability to change your life. There is no one who will ever come to Christ who will say, I'm sorry, but I'm the exception to the rule. I will never become the righteous person God has called me to be. You will not be the first failure of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit will not be two billion and one. I won two billion.

I was able to transform them, but woo, this one. Some of you might think you're the one. Some people even say, well, see, you have to understand me. You have to understand where I come from. I got good news for you.

It doesn't matter where you come from. God's power is able to change your life. I know you got a sad story. I know you got a horrible upbringing. I know you didn't have any good examples in your life. I know everybody in your life was a rank sinner.

All of them were pitiful, messed up, drugged out, and all kinds of things. You never met a Christian until you were 37, all that kind of stuff. I've heard those kinds of stories before. I'm here to tell you it doesn't matter where you've been. Christ finds you where you are, and he will change your very life. But he won't change it while you just sit around and chill out. He'll change it as you submit to the process, as you understand that he's got divine provisions for you and promises for you, and as you begin to appropriate them by faith and then submit to God's process, he will transform you. There is a metamorphosis you will go through in order to become the person God has called you to be. It is a process, but the Holy Spirit is going to lead you through it.

So know this, that you are going to have to make every effort. God provides the power, but you must say, Yes, Lord, I'm going to submit to you as you take me through the process of change, because to become what God's calling you to be, your life is going to have to change. God loves you just the way you are, but he loves you too much to leave you like you are. Now, if you're not excited about that, your relatives are thrilled.

If you're not that happy about that point, if that's an okay point to you, I dare you to ask the folk in your life what they think about it. They will go to shouting, because they would love to see you change. They would love to see you become a better person, and that is God's plan.

He loves us like we are, but please know that he loves you too much to leave you like you are. He saves none of us with the intention of merely giving us fire insurance. You know, get saved, not going to go to hell.

Fire insurance. Now, that's a good benefit of salvation. Don't get me wrong, I'm really glad that one of the bennies of salvation is I don't have to worry about hell. The second half of Pastor Paul Shepherd's message is coming right up. We want to thank all of you who support Destined for Victory with your prayers and financial support, gifts that help Pastor Paul share the good news of salvation with a growing audience. Destined for Victory is a listener-supported ministry, and right now, with uncertainty still lingering all around us, your help is needed now more than ever, because people are looking for a reason to have hope. Pastor Paul is committed to sharing the hope of the Gospel all over the world, so perfectly consider making a gift to Destined for Victory today. When you give, we have a gift of our own to share with you when you request it.

I'll tell you all about it after today's message. Salvation is not the only benefit to coming to faith in Christ. There's so much more God wants to give us. Here's Pastor Paul with the rest of today's Destined for Victory message.

Prove it. People love saying, well, what exactly is hell going to be like? It couldn't be literal because we won't have literal bodies that last for all eternity, so I don't understand. What is it really going to be?

I do know one thing. It is a place you don't want to go. I can't give you a whole lot of details, but Jesus vouched for its reality, and it sounds like somewhere you don't want to hang out. Not like there's going to be parties and carrying on.

Somewhere you don't want to be. And so that's a wonderful benefit, but you know what? God didn't save you just to keep you out of hell.

He saved you to make you like Him, to make you His child, to get glory out of your life here on earth, and then to enjoy His presence for all eternity. And so there's going to be a process of change. None of us can stay the way we are and please the Lord. And Peter says here, it requires our cooperation. We've got to make every effort to add to our faith. Now, it starts with faith. Faith is the foundation. Faith is the foundation of what God's doing in your life. He is at work in you first to give you the faith that saves you, and so we begin at the place of faith.

We trust Christ for salvation, and that trust in Him brings salvation into our lives. So faith is like the foundation, but a foundation isn't what you admire when you're looking at a building project. You don't drive around your neighborhood looking at foundations.

You don't say, my, have you seen that thing, that building downtown? Isn't that foundation something? The foundation is just the necessary groundwork, the preparation. And I love there's spiritual truth even in that because before the work goes up, before the building goes up that everyone will admire upon completion, before you go up, the builders know you have to start down. And we have to learn that about our lives. There are some things God's doing in our lives that are inconspicuous, but they are necessary because eventually when other people are admiring God's work in your life, it will be built on a solid foundation. God is teaching you in these years.

How to love Him, how to trust Him, how to rely on Him even when you don't understand everything that's going on in your life. And so faith is part of that necessary foundation. But Peter says your faith is not enough. Good that you have a profession of faith that has led to salvation, he says, but now in order to make your calling and election sure, you must add to your faith. Let's look at just a couple of things that he talks about adding to our faith. The first he says is add to your faith goodness. If you have King James, the word would be virtue, virtue, goodness.

It's translated in NIV. The Greek word means moral excellence. It means becoming a person who is morally excellent, who lives an outstanding, upstanding life, a person who has character that is admirable. He says add to your faith goodness, that is virtue. And let me tell you something, we live in days where virtue is mocked, where virtue is frowned upon, but yet we are also living in days where we're seeing the collapse of society because of a lack of virtue. Are we seeing the same thing?

On the one hand, people want to mock you and laugh at you when you talk about living right. On the other hand, they get mad when their stock portfolio goes down because people in a boardroom of some company they have stock in have no integrity, have falsified their accounts and have misguided the public and when it all comes to a head, the company comes crashing down to stock with it and now you're broke. It's not so funny anymore. It's not so funny when I can't trust that the companies are run by people who will be truthful and honest and moral because now you're messing with my money. Isn't it funny how things change once there's a personal side to the story? And now you have to do all kind of investigation. Well, what's the board like in that company?

I don't know if I want to put stock in them because we've seen the Worldcoms and we've seen the Enrons and we've seen all that. Some people have gotten a brand new appreciation for the fact that sin has nothing to do with socioeconomics. A lot of people would love to believe, well, sin has to do with poverty and it has to do with people who are oppressed and they're the ones who act out. No, all unrighteousness is sin and you can be a poor sinner or you can be a rich sinner. Sin's in the hearts of people until they come to Christ and so a rich person can have a sin that says, I know I'm rich but I want to get richer and I'll do it at the expense of other folk.

You hear that tape where they were talking about, remember when they had the utility scandal and they had a recording of people making fun of the fact that they were putting out, we thought we were having blackouts that had to do with some real energy crisis and it had to do, as it turns out, with greed. Folks, morals matter. They matter and God's word told us all along they matter. Our country is in the shape it's in because somewhere along the line we allow too few people to dictate to the majority and to say that morals have to be relative and your reality is not my reality and just because you say it's wrong doesn't make it wrong and everybody ought to be free to dictate according to their own conscience and then you complain when you see crime. Well, how's crime wrong? If everybody gets to decide what's wrong, the criminal said it's not wrong so they held you up and jacked you. What you complain about? You don't believe in objective morality. See, we can't have it both ways. There are some things that are right.

There are some things that are wrong. How do we determine it? Not by majority vote. We determine it by the eternal word of God. And so the believers have to lead society in the way to live. The Bible says we are the light of the world. We are the salt of the earth and so we've got to lead and we've got to lead by saying there is a way to live and we're not going to be self-righteous and pretend like we are holier than thou because but for the grace of God we're all in a mess. But now that Christ has come into our lives, we're going to humble ourselves before Him and submit to His plan and let Him change us so that the church can say to the world, follow us as we follow Christ.

That's what we've got to get back to. If there's any hope for our society, it's going to be because believers go on the record and say there is a right way to live your life. There are right decisions to make and they have to do with eternal values that predate all of us. And so you've got to understand that this is an important feature of the life of a child of God. He says add to your faith goodness.

That is moral excellence. Now if we're going to live morally excellent, we've got to understand that we must make the effort to do it which means we start with the resolve to say yes to God without His definitions of moral character. We've got to say yes to God. In other words, we submit to God's definition for what is right. And so when God says here is the way I want you to conduct your finances, you say yes, this is right. The Bible tells you very clearly, don't steal, don't cheat, don't falsify records. Translation for the child of God, we've got to make a decision. I'm going to believe God for all of my needs to be met financially and materially, but I'm also going to believe Him to do it legitimately. In other words, God's not going to bless me by cheating. Now this message is not going to make you shout.

I just want to let you know in advance. This isn't a shout, woo, praise God. This has some points where you just say, mm. So you've got to preach the whole truth, nothing but the truth. I've got to preach it in season, out of season. That means, Paul said preach the word in season, out of season. That means preach it when they say, woo, pastor Paul, I love him, because they like what I said. But I have to also preach these points where they say, now see, he up there tripping. Now he need to just get out of my business. They just going about his business.

Didn't nobody ask him all of that. Why don't he just tell me how to be blessed and happy? Seven keys to prospering and stuff like that. I've got to preach the whole thing. And this book said you've got to live right. It means you've got to make the decision that the way you make your money is going to be honorable to God. So the child of God has to decide once and for all. I don't take money under the table. It starts with a decision to agree with God.

I don't take it, well, we've got a little thing going now. The IRS doesn't recognize this. Well, then, if the IRS doesn't recognize it, I guess you can't do it with a clear conscience. So what you need to do is trust God, exercise your faith, and say, Lord, I'm going to make my money legitimately, and I'm going to believe you to meet every single one of my needs. In fact, I'm going to believe you to prosper me and bless me, because there are things I want to do for the kingdom.

There are things I want to do to bless other people. So God, I'm going to believe you that you are going to prosper me as I seek first your kingdom. But seeking first your kingdom means I'm going to do it your way. And so you make up your mind that you will be honorable in the way you handle your finances. You make the decision first. Don't wait for the temptation to come and then figure out what you're going to do. The way you live right, the way you make every effort to add to your faith goodness or moral excellence is, you decide ahead of time, I'm going to live legitimately with regard to my finances. And so you don't wait for the deal to go down. You don't wait for the offer to be made, and then you're scratching your head trying to figure out what you're going to do, looking at your bills and looking at, here's a way to make a lot of money. No, that's not the question.

Can I make a lot of money? The question is, does this glorify God? Because I live my life in the presence of God. God's watching me all the time. Do you know God sees what's happening under the table? You know, when we seek God's kingdom first, it produces evidence that everyone around us can see.

You might call it the fruit of our pursuit. And as we grow in our relationship with Jesus, this fruit will begin to show up in every area of our lives. Thanks so much for joining us for Pastor Paul Shepherd's message, Prove It. Listen to any of his recent messages on demand at pastorpaul.net. That's pastorpaul.net.

Well, as we navigate our way through some tough challenges in America and all over the world, we're seeing the Destined for Victory audience continue to grow. Adversity very often brings with it a degree of spiritual awareness and growth, and friends like you make it possible for Pastor Paul to minister to a growing audience. Thanks so much for lifting us up in prayer and making donations when you can. Today we'd like to lift you up in prayer. From the home page at pastorpaul.net, click contact us and tell us how we can pray for you. While you're there, be sure to ask for Pastor Paul's monthly letter of encouragement, yours at no cost or obligation. And here's something else, a book from Deborah Smith-Pagais called 30 Days to Taming Worry and Anxiety. If the circumstances of life have ever caused you to be worried and stressed out, this resource can be of great help. Packed with truth straight from the Word of God, 30 Days to Taming Worry and Anxiety will show you how to manage life's stressful situations God's way. And when you do, you'll have the kind of joy and peace He longs to give you. That's 30 Days to Taming Worry and Anxiety, our gift to you by request for your generous gift to Destined for Victory. Call 855-339-5500 to give over the phone or visit pastorpaul.net to make a safe and secure donation online.

You can also mail your gift to Destined for Victory, Post Office Box 1767, Fremont, California 94538. You make the decision first. Don't wait for the temptation to come and then figure out what you're going to do. The way you live right, the way you make every effort to add to your faith goodness or moral excellence is, you decide ahead of time, I'm going to live legitimately. That's tomorrow in Pastor Paul Shepherd's message. Prove it. Until then remember, he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion. In Christ, you are Destined for Victory.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-01-29 01:07:23 / 2024-01-29 01:17:12 / 10

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