Source: written by Edward E.Thomason Ė Preachtoday.com
*I cannot remember where the original idea for this sermon came from but it is not original with me.
Date _______ place: Church of Christ
Sermon Plan Theme: Our personal growth
FROM REED TO ROCK (SPIRITUAL PROGRESS)
Most all of us also are growing and improving and become more Christ like in our attitudes and actions. Sometimes
that growth is more apparent in some than in others. Perhaps because much change and improvement was needed. However, usually those who make such change -
become models and mentors of the rest of us.
Such was a man named SIMON PETER. He was an apostle of J.C. but also a WORK IN PROGRESS (a construction zone).
I want us to take the time to consider some comparisons between his early life with Jesus and Peterís later life
as an apostle. His was a life of "Change." In fact, it was a life of "great change!"
Simon Peter changed from being an "unpredictable reed that blows in the wind to an unmovable rock - a pillar of
strength and courage.
If you know much about him you know that in his early days as a disciple:
HE WAS SOMETIMES IMPULSIVE: His impulsiveness is seen in: (Matt. 14:28
"walked on water," Matt. 17:4 "desired to make 3 tabernacles" (Moses, Elias, Jesus), John 21:7 "Jumped out of boat to
swim to shore to be with Jesus."
HE WAS SOMETIMES PRESUMPTUOUS: His presumption is seen in: (Matt. 16:22
when he "rebuked the Lord," John 13:8 when he said, "thou shalt never wash my feet," Matt 26:35 when he declared: "though
I should die with you, yet I will not deny thee." We should never say Never!
HE WAS SOMETIMES SELF SEEKING: Matt. 19:27 "Behold we have forsaken
all and followed thee, what shall we have therefore?
TO HIS CREDIT, Peter is remembered for his two great confessions: Matt. 16:16 "Thou art the Christ the
son of the living God. John 6:69 "And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the son of the living God."
Yet Peter made the most cowardly denial (Mark 14:67-71)
NOW WHAT IS INTERESTING ABOUT ALL THIS IS that Jesus saw in this rough hewn fisherman who often had the character of
a "reed" bending in the wind, many great qualities and great potential.
So Jesus changed his name from Simon to Peter (Cephas - Aramaic) which means "rock!". Peter's later life
proved Christ to be a good judge of character and a good teacher.. The impulsive, presumptuous, self serving, and even cowardly Simon became the courageous and
immovable "Rock" (Peter.)
BUT HERE IS THE POINT... Peter did not change when his name changed... it took
time to develop Character. (And just because we now wear the name of Christ... doesnít not mean we are all that we can and should be either... we too must
grow and mature and change.)
LET US CONSIDER FROM PETERíS OWN WORDS THE "KEYS" TO SPIRITUAL GROWTH:
OUR TEXT: 2 Peter 1:5-10
I. (V-5) SPIRITUAL GROWTH REQUIRES a certain amount of: COMMITMENT, SACRIFICE, AND INITIATIVE... (give all diligence)
When Jesus first called Peter he was committed, but not as deeply committed as he would be. Peter left his
profession ... (leaving behind the physical things is not as hard as what Peter would have to ultimately leave behind to be a "rock.") Peter had to
sacrifice or leave behind him his: TEMPERAMENT (Impulsive, presumptuous, self seeking/ self serving), PRIDE (Replaced it with humility. The "washing of
feet" was a real eye opener for Peter), RELIGIOUS AND ETHICAL PREJUDICES (It took a miraculous vision and revelation for Peter to begin to overcome his
prejudice toward Gentiles. Acts 10)
When one chooses to follow Christ, it is often easier to leave friends, family, possessions than it is to give up
these flaws in our characters. But Peter was able to grow and change... and so can we!
Remember Peter's character developed over time.... (Illus: like filling a bucket of water with sand using a
spoon.... It TAKES TIME, COMMITMENT AND a willingness to make some SACRIFICES ... but it can be done.
Peter discovered that it ALSO TAKES INITIATIVE. Jesus spoke words to Peter that must have rung in his ears all his
life.... John 21:15 after his resurrection Jesus told Peter: "FEED MY SHEEP." It takes initiative to fulfill
a mandate from the Lord. Peter never stopped feeding cf., 2 Peter 1:12-15 read. (Our mandate from the Lord today is the great commission!
It should give
us initiative to develop our character.)
II. SPIRITUAL GROWTH BEGINS WITH AND REQUIRES FAITH: (V-5)
Faith is the foundation of which all else is built. There has never been progress made in any aspect of life without
faith of some kind. (It took faith to sail the oceans, tame the Wild West, look to the future.) Biblical faith is described in Heb: 11:1 "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence..." Cf, Rom 10:17 our evidence is the Word of God.
Peter's faith grew as he walked with the Master... Our faith will grow as we walk
beside the Master with Peter thru the gospels and Acts. With eyes of faith we can see Jesus heal the sick, raise the dead. We can go into the places that only
Peter, James and John were allowed to go. With Peter we can see Jesus gloriously transfigured, and hear him weeping in humility and submission in the garden. We
see him being tried, crucified and buried, and we run with Peter to the empty tomb, and with Peter by faith we see the risen Lord and his ascension into
heaven... THATíS BIBLICAL FAITH
III. SPIRITUAL GROWTH ALSO REQUIRES SELF IMPROVEMENT: (v-5-6)
Peter gives us the recipe to construct great lives and characters... (cf., V-8-9)
ADD TO YOUR FAITH VIRTUE ("MORAL GOODNESS.") Christianity does not
exist w/o moral goodness. Many who would be spiritual giantís are stunted by "immorality." Letters to early Christians constantly reminded them to
"flee immorality" So add "virtue' to your faith! Of course, Peter
knew something about this. You may recall reading how when Peter repeatedly denied Christ he even cursed! Those curse words poured out of a heart that
was not yet morally pure... WE MUST GIVE ALL DILIGENCE TO PURIFY OUR HEARTS and ACTIONS....
ADD TO YOUR MORAL GOODNESS, KNOWLEDGE (MORAL WISDOM.) The knowledge that
Peter is discussing is the ability to recognize error, sin in one's own life and correct that error, resulting in RIGHT LIVING. Peter had a problem here, Gal.
2:11ff. He had not fully overcome and set aside his own Religious, and ethnic prejudices. Paul withstood him to the face, he was to be blamed. This flaw in
Peter's character was not easily removed, Peter was fighting it. We too need moral wisdom to see our wrongs and flaws so we can grow spiritually each day.
ADD TO YOUR MORAL WISDOM, TEMPERANCE (SELF CONTROL.) The mastering of
desires, passions, especially sensual appetites. There is no excuse for a lack of self control... but there are ways to help: Peter understood that we should give diligence to "Watch
the company we keep..." ("evil companions can corrupt good morals.) Remember Peter cursed and denied... when he
shared a campfire with evil men. We often do and say things that we shouldnít when we are somewhere where we shouldnít
ADD TO YOUR SELF CONTROL, PATIENCE (faith that endures.) One who is unswerving
from his deliberate purpose/ loyal to the faith even during severe trials. Christ told Peter he would suffer in death (JN 21 cf., 2 Peter 1:14.)
Peter resolved to be faithful to his mission, purpose until or unto the point of death (2 Peter 1:13).Peter who suffered much, patiently, encouraged us
to do the same: I Pet. 4:16 "if any man suffer as a Christian..."
ADD TO YOUR ENDURING FAITH, GODLINESS (faith in submission.) "Reverence,
respect, and devotion toward God.) Itís reverence for God that helps give us the initiative to lay aside our will to do God's will? Remember in Matt. 17:4, Peter
"wanted" to build 3 tabernacles (Christ, Moses, Elias... He was being presumptuous. But God spoke from heaven and said, "This is my beloved son..." Peter had to learn respect for What God says, respect
for what pleases God not Peter. (Thatís godliness. - or faith in submission.) We too practice godliness when we do what God says to do rather than what we
want to do.
ADD TO YOUR GODLINESS, BROTHERLY KINDNESS. One of the qualities of a
Christian is his/her kindness to fellowman, brethren... Love thy neighbor.". Yet, Peter quickly cut off the ear of the high priest's servant... in John
18:10. (Not a very kind thing to do.) How many ears will we cut off before we learn brotherly kindness?
ADD TO YOUR BROTHERLY KINDNESS, LOVE (agape love, self sacrificing love that
seeks the highest good for others.)
Notice that "love" is last on Peterís list... probably because it is the most difficult of all. It certainly was for Peter. John 21:15-17 Jesus questioned Peter: Do you love
(agape) me? Peter is your love for your Lord an unselfish and sacrificial love? Peter responded using another word for love ("philo")
which refers to a tender, affectionate, brotherly love. Peter loved the Lord like a brother. Yet, that was not what Jesus asked. Obviously, Agape love did not come easy for Peter but he learned that with diligence we can each crown our
character with it.
IV. PETER CONCLUDES THAT SPIRITUAL GROWTH TAKES VISION: (V-9)
We need good hindsight: to remember where we have been and see our past mistakes as well as our growth. We
also need good foresight, to look ahead and see the promises of God being fulfilled. Each Sunday - try to visualize yourself as the kind of person God
wants you to be. Then go out and live that way.
VS-8 read, we can grow and even produce fruit...
But spiritual growth takes: COMMITMENT, SACRIFICE, & INITIATIVE; (give diligence); FAITH (genuine biblical faith); SELF
IMPROVEMENT; and VISION.
You don't have to be a reed... you too can be a rock.... Better yet, you can be a Christian! You can learn to
live up to all that that name implies!
Give all diligence to make your calling and election sure