Support us on Paypal
Contact Us
Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Skip Heitzig » Skip Heitzig - Building A Forever Faith

Skip Heitzig - Building A Forever Faith

Skip Heitzig - Building A Forever Faith
Skip Heitzig - Building A Forever Faith
TOPICS: Rock Solid, Spiritual Growth

Father, thank you that you brought us together. I'm honored to be with brothers and sisters in this atmosphere of faith and love, and, Lord, honoring your name, that's such a positive and such a rewarding venue and place and time to be together. Father, we in praying make a declaration of our dependence upon you. We're declaring that we need your help to understand and to put into practice that which is in your Word that you provided for us. Help us to do that, in Jesus' name, amen.

My dad was a builder. I use to watch him go to empty lots and tell me what is going to go there. And I couldn't see it. He could see it. He had the vision for it. And even when he would build a cement foundation and I would stand upon it, and he would say, "Now, this room will be there, and this office will be there," and even standing on such a solid foundation, I still didn't see what he saw. But I thought about him some years later when I was at a very interesting architectural place in Italy called the Leaning Tower of Pisa. And I saw that thing leaning and I thought, "My dad never would have built that structure. He couldn't have. It wouldn't look like that." And I remember looking at that interesting piece of architecture, and the reason, by the way, it is so famous isn't because it's height. It's only 179 feet tall.

And it's not because of its Romanesque architecture, though it's a great piece of that and it's a great study in that. That's not why it's famous. It is famous for one reason, because it leans. That's it. It leans. Now you know it's going to fall. The experts tell us that it should have fallen in 2007, but it didn't and I'll they will you why before the study is over. But they say it's going to fall because it started leaning from almost the time it was constructed in 1173, I believe. And it falls at the rate of one-twentieth of an inch every single year. It is presently seventeen feet out of plumb. I have a question for you: Do you want your life to resemble some freaky tourist attraction that's leaning, or something solid and helpful and permanent?

Those are the thoughts that are in Peter's mind as he pens Second Peter. It's all about growth. It's all about the audience taking what he teaches and developing from that. Now, Second Peter is a little bit different than First Peter. In First Peter he was concerned about the dangers from the outside like persecution and oppression, but in Second Peter he's more concerned about dangers from the inside in terms of deception, false teaching. But at the very core, at the very core of this whole beginning introduction chapter, this section, it's all about spiritual growth.

Let's look at it together, Second Peter, chapter 1, beginning in verse 1: Simon Peter, a bondservant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have obtained like precious faith with us by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ: Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, 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, 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.

But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, and to virtue knowledge, and to knowledge self-control, and to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins. Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Are you growing up or are you just growing old? It's a good question to ask yourself from time to time. We're all growing older. But are you growing up and growing strong or are you just growing old? Because we all know that growth is a normal part of life. Whenever there's birth, there is growth, and that's what we expect. When we have children, we are willing to put up with the noise and with the messes and all that happens in babyhood, because we are aiming for that child maturing into a responsible adult. And we mark that growth and we get excited when there's a birthday. The favorite door of my old house was our pantry door where we would mark every year how high Nate was getting and what that date was. And we'd write right on the door just to keep a marker of that kind of progress.

Well, with the Christian life it begins with birth. "You must be born again," Jesus said. But it continues with growth, with development, with a blossoming, with maturity. And we want to talk about that and look at that in this section that we just read. Now, before we begin, and I'm going to give you four prerequisites to building a forever faith. I'll talk about that in a moment. Let me begin by giving you two overarching principles about growth that you need to know, two principles that are general, overarching principles about spiritual growth. Number one, your spiritual growth has knowing to do with your physical age. You can be an older person, but a spiritual infant.

Charles Spurgeon said, "There are children in the church of God who are seventy years old," but he also said, "on the other hand, there are wise and instructed and stable folk who are relatively young." So physical age and spiritual maturity aren't necessarily equal; that's the first principle. Second principle: you can grow spiritually as much as you want to grow. You can grow as much as you want to grow. And that brings us to the central theme of what Peter is getting at. The secret is using what God has provided. Once you have the faith that he gives you, you "obtain like precious faith," verse 1 and 2, then you must grow in that faith, verse 3 through 11. So here's what we're going to do. We're going to look at our life, your life, the Christian life as building a structure, building a forever faith.

And there are four prerequisites that you need to build it. Number one, you gotta get the right investor. You gotta find somebody who's going to bankroll this project, and we have God as the investor. It all begins with God. He gives the gift of salvation. But he also has two things that are important: he has power and he has promises. He has power and he has promises. Look at verse three, here's the power: "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." Have you ever thought what divine power can do? Let's see, divine power can create the universe. Divine power can sustain all the natural forces of our natural world. Divine power can heal the sick. Divine power can raise the dead.

Jesus said, "All power in heaven and earth is given to me", "all power." So here's the deal: you can grow as much as you want, because you have access to God's power. Can you imagine having a battery that never goes out? This summer I'd decided I'd start my motorcycle, I think for the first time in months. It had been sitting in the garage for the winter. And I went to start it and it did this: ggsha-blghh-blghhh. I had forgotten to take that trickle charger that I should have kept for the winter applied to the bike. But imagine having a power source that never runs out. God has invested his power in your spiritual growth. That's why Paul the apostle said this, and you know it: "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." The word "strengthen" means puts his power into me.

So you gotta find the right investor, and he has to have the power, and our Investor does. What God expects you to attempt, he also enables you to achieve by his power. There's a second qualification as being the right investor: promises. Our Investor has made some promises. Verse 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." Now, if you're building a project and you have an investor, he's going to write the checks. Now checks are just promises; that's all they are. You really can't do anything with a check until you go to the bank and cash it. A check has the person's name on it. He fills in the amount, but it will do you no good until you cash the check.

So, the money in the bank, that's the power. The check that is written, those are the promises. Our God has the power and he also has the promises. But a promise is only as good as the one who makes the promise. You can make a promise, but if you have no power to back it up, so what. So, after church I could write you a personal check for a million dollars. The problem will be when you go to the bank to cash it. They're going to say to you, "Nice try. This guy doesn't have near the money required for you to cash this check." It wouldn't work. I can make you the promise, but I don't have the power. But I do know some people who could actually write you that check, and you could cash it. I will not give you their names. But they have the power behind the promise.

God has promised that we can escape from our old life and we can go in a whole new direction. But you, you have to cash the check. You have to actually take that promise and say, "I'm going to apply that promise to my life." That's cashing the check. You can always tell how mature a Christian is by how that person treats God's promises, always. How do they treat the promises of God? For example, a fearful, panicked believer speaks volumes of one who doesn't really believe in God's promises. But a calm believer, a confident believer speaks of somebody who believes the promise, who thinks this way: "If God has written the check, I can cash it. I can take that promise to the bank. There's power behind the promise." So, if you're going to build anything of eternal value, you need the right investor.

And our Investor has power and promises and they're great promises. He says, "Great and precious promises." You know why they're great? Because they're from a great God and they lead to a great life. And what is the promise, at least in part? That "you would be partakers of the divine nature." Now think about this: the kind of life that you have in you right now as born-again believers is the life of God. You are a partner with that life. When you are born again, that's what happens, the life of God gets attached to your life. So that means here's the way to live: you can face your future with the kind of confidence that says, "No matter what comes my way, God's power will be there and his promises to meet all those hardships or potential problems along the way."

So you need the right investor; that's the first prerequisite. The second prerequisite to building a forever faith is you gotta follow the building code. And God has outlined through Peter what that is. Look at verse 5, "But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, to brotherly kindness love." Now this, folks, is your part. God's part we've already talked about. Those are the previous verses. God's given you the power and the promises. This is your part. Now, I know some of you are reading this critically, and that's good to read the Bible that way, but it seems contradictory.

It almost seems paradoxical, because it says, "God gives you everything you need," and then he says, "Now add to that..." So you wonder, "How could you add anything to everything?" And here's the answer: growth takes cooperation. Growth always takes cooperation. I must have a cooperation with God's operation. I am involved in this process. You know, if you or I were to have written this, we might've said, "God has given you everything you need to grow and be godly; therefore, let go and let God. Just veg in the Spirit, just lounge in the Spirit, and just take it easy, and watch the whole thing go up." No. But he says it takes cooperation. Look at the language: "giving all diligence." Literally means make every possible effort or intensively exert yourself. Don't misunderstand me; we're not speaking about salvation.

You don't work hard to get saved. It's a gift. That's verse 1 and 2. You have "obtained like precious faith." You have received faith. That's a gift. But sanctification, ah, that's teamwork. That's teamwork. You just don't sit back and watch it happen; you are involved in the process. Spiritual growth is never accidental; it is always intentional. I can tell you how Paul wrote the same thought but different words. Paul the apostle in Philippians chapter 2 verse 12 says this, and you'll recall it what when I quote it: "Therefore, brethren, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling." Ever read that verse? Ever puzzled by it? "Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling," but it's followed by this: "for it is God's who works in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure", same thought.

God works in you. He gives you the power, he makes the promise, but you must work out your own salvation. You say, "I still don't quite get how it works." So I'll give you an example, an analogy: a composer sits down to write a musical score, in doing so he provides everything that is needed. He's writing the melody, because he's writing the notes. He's writing the timing down, the cadence of it, if it picks up or if it slows down. So he gives everything that is needed for the production. However, it still takes a musician to work that out and to play that score and to give what is written down, all that is provided, a voice. Or here's another analogy: you go to the doctor, the doctor says, "I've examined you. It doesn't look good. Here is the diagnosis: you require surgery.

"I'll perform the surgery and then afterwards I'm going to give you some medications postop that will help in the healing." So the doctor has done it all. He has diagnosed, he performs the surgery, and gives the medication. You don't help in that process, so far. You don't help the doctor do surgery, "Doctor, I'll work on is this side, you work on that side. Here, give me a scalpel." You're not going to do that. That'd be foolish. But though he provides everything that you need, you still postop have to work that out by taking the medication and by following his instructions. That's following the building code. So it requires cooperation and it requires supplementation. Please notice: "Therefore, giving all diligence," or making maximum effort, "add to your faith...," and then seven supplements are listed.

We here in New Mexico know something about supplements. When we eat food, it is not complete until we have our supplements. So you might be from the Midwest and a meal to you is meat and potatoes. It's good enough. Not here. Not gonna fly here. If we're going to have meat and potatoes, we need our supplements, and they're either red or green those supplements. You know what I'm talking about. We need chile with it. And I have just so become accustomed to it, that a meal isn't complete without the supplements that go with it. It has to have a little to it. Well, if we were to think about it in building terms, a building analogy, this is the building code. "Here are seven things I want you," God says, "to add to the house that you are building.

"And they're going to spice things up and there are going to be supplements that make your house a killer house. So, for example, I know you gotta put in a sink, but don't put in the little metal sink; I want you to put in the marble farm sink. Or, yeah, I know you need to cook your food, but you're not going to put in that hot plate that you're picking out; you're going to put in a Viking Stove. Or not Formica, we're not going to put that on the countertop; you're going to put marble in. We want this thing to last." So, so far this is what we've learned: he's giving the power, and he makes the promises, but we add the perks. And he'll give you everything you need to pull that off. And what are the supplements? Well, look at the first one: virtue. "Virtue" means moral excellence. "Add that to your faith, a moral excellence."

One way to look at excellence is something that fulfills the purpose for which it was made. When you do that, you've added something special, some excellence to your faith. Then he said add to that "knowledge." Now, this is a different word for "knowledge" than what is typically a New Testament word. This word is epignósis, which means an expert knowledge, a full knowledge, the ultimate knowledge, a growing, personal, authentic knowledge, one that is practical. And then add to that self-control. Add "to knowledge self-control." You know, sometimes there's a huge gap between what we know (our knowledge), and what we do (our actions). You know what will bridge that gap? Self-control. "Add to what you know about God and know God with self-control."

"Self-control" is a word that was a Greek word that means to hold oneself together. It spoke of an athlete who would say no to eating certain kinds of food and yes to certain kinds of training because he wanted to win a race. Look at what's next: perseverance. It means to bear up under the trial, or the hardship, the difficult circumstance. We would say to somebody, "Hang in there." That's perseverance. "Hang in there." And then add to that "godliness," literally godlikeness. It's a word that speaks of being right with God, and therefore right with other people. You've got the vertical and horizontal axis just right. And then add to that "brotherly kindness." You know the word: philadelphia. And then add to that "love," which is higher than brother love, higher than philadelphia.

Agape love is the love of the cross. It is sacrificial love. So those are the seven chiles that you're to add to the meal, the seven perks to the building that he gives you the power and promises to pull off. But I don't want you to think of these as some list of promises where, "We'll, I'll pick a couple of those, but I'm really not good that, so I'm just going to leave that laying around there." Look at this this way: one will lead to the other. So if you have faith that will produce a life of virtue. And if you have a moral excellent life, that will lead to knowing God better. And when you know God better, you'll become more self-controlled. And when you're more self-controlled, you'll be able to persevere under the load better. And when you do that, you'll become more godly.

And that leads to genuine care for people and sacrificial love. That's growth. One leads to the other. So get the right investor and follow the building code. Here's a third prerequisite to building a forever faith: build with growth in mind. Now listen to me. If you were thinking this morning, "Okay, okay, you know, I've been a Christian, sort of been on the sideline. I have believing faith, but you're kind of jarring me a little bit here, so I think I'm going to add a couple of these things and then, and then I'm going to stop." Well, you've got it wrong, because the idea here is when you build your life and you add and you exert, you are always building for future growth in mind. You never plateau. You never stop. Look at the word "abound," verse 8.

The word "abound" means "I have so much that it overflows. I keep getting it and its overflowing." That's the idea. If you ever travel to San Jose, California, and you have an extra afternoon, visit what's called the Winchester Mystery House. Ever been there? The Winchester Mystery House has 160 rooms. It was built by Sarah Winchester of the Winchester rifle fame. She was told by a medium if she just keeps building onto her house, she'll never die, but have eternal life. Well, she's dead, but her house remains. And it remains as a testimony to the belief that "as long as I'm here, I am always expanding in my life." That's the idea of the text.

Look at verse 8, it says so: "For if these things are yours and abound," that's the word, overflow, "you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten he was cleansed from his old sins. Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent [hard working, exert] to make your call an election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble." When you build with growth in mind, when you do that, it's very productive. Notice it says, "You'll never be barren." You know what that means? Means idol or unproductive or literally something that has stopped working. I have a clock at home. It doesn't work. It's still there, and one day I'll fix it, but right now it's inoperative. It doesn't work.

If you build with growth in mind, you will never be the kind of a person, and I know you know the ones I'm talking about, who say this: "Well, I tried Jesus Christ, but it just doesn't work for me." You'll never say that. You'll never be able to say that. The truth is, it's not that it didn't work, you didn't work. You stopped operating. You stopped adding. You'll never be barren. You'll never be unfruitful, is the next word. Now "fruit", it's one of those things that the New Testament speaks about. Jesus spoke about bearing fruit. You know that's an analogy of an ever-expanding life that blesses other people. That's fruit. Jesus spoke about the people who hear his words and they take it to heart and they produce fruit, some thirty, some sixty, some a hundredfold, right?

And then he told his disciples, and Peter was there when he said it. He said, "Here's the secret to getting fruit: abide in me. Abide in me. Stay close to me. Remain in me." So that just like a branch to the vine is receiving nourishment from the vine, it will then give the nourishment to the fruit, so that other people will be refreshed. That's what fruit does. It refreshes other people. So the idea is that the life of Christ is flowing into you and then overflowing from you. Basically, there are three different kinds of faith. I wonder which one you have. The first kind of faith, let's call it faulty faith, fake faith. There's people who say, "I believe. I believe in God. I'm a believer." Well, you know what James says, that "Even the devils believe, and", what do they do?, "they tremble!"

Every demon in hell believes in Christ and believes in God. So you're not in great company if you just say, "I'm a believer, generally, in God." So does the devil. That's, that's faulty faith. There's a second kind, and maybe some of you fit in this category, probably most all of you do: firm faith. This is genuine faith. This is saving faith. This is where you are built on the firm foundation of the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross for you. You've been justified by faith. You are saved. That's firm faith. But, you know, there's a third faith. I'm going to call it flowing faith. It's so firm that it receives the benefit of the life of Christ through abiding, but it's so good that it is productive and others get the benefit of that fruit. Joseph in the Old Testament, it says, "His branches go over the wall."

That's the picture of a fruitful life. So, which is it, faulty faith, firm faith, or are you in that third category, flowing faith, firm but flowing? You remember Jesus said at the Feast of Tabernacles, which is what is being celebrated right now. Jesus stood up at that feast and said, "If any man thirsts, let him come to me and drink." And then he said, "Out of his heart [his innermost being] will flow rivers of living water." Don't be a gulper, be a gusher. Maybe you go, "Well, I really need to get refreshed today. I need living water," gulp, gulp, gulp, gulp, gulp. Good, good, good, do, but gulp in order that you might gush. Don't have your salvation experience some stagnant pond, but make sure that the water that you receive is the water that blesses other people. That's flowing faith.

So you'll be productive. Look at verse 9 now. "But he who lacks these things is shortsighted [myopic], even to blindness; he has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins. Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things, you will never stumble." You ever seen a kid watch a scary movie? The scary part, what does he do? Or he squints and just opens his eyes a little bit. My wife can't watch those surgery shows. I love them. I thrive on it. She squints and then she'll look, "Ohh!" And then she'll, "Ttssss." Now picture somebody walking down a road while they're squinting. That's the picture that Peter is painting: somebody trying to make progress while they're squinting. Eventually, you're going to stumble. You're going to fall. You're going to fall.

But someone who is ever-growing, ever-expanding, adding, and never contented with stopping, can see where he's come from and where he's going. True story, I read it in this newspaper about a couple that they had just gotten married and they went on a honeymoon. And they got back from the honeymoon and it was the day after the honeymoon. It was a first day back in the office for this young man, this young newlywed. He leaves his office, but he's late for dinner three hours. By the time he gets home, his wife is just burning up. The meal is burnt as well, but she's mad that he missed it. You know what happened? He had forgotten momentarily. It was the first day back at work. He went to his mom's house instead of his new home, because that was just the pattern that he followed every single day.

And he was absentminded on that day and went to her house, mom's house, instead of wife's house. By the way, he never made that mistake ever again. It only takes one time. It's a lesson you'll never lose. Maybe you have forgotten that you are engaged to Christ, as Paul said, "I have espoused you, I've engaged you to one person"; and that is, Jesus Christ. You've forgotten about the repentance part and the turning part. But a growing believer will be a steady believer. That's a forever faith. He will never stumble. There's a fourth and we'll close on this. Get the right investor, follow the building code, build with growth in mind, and fourth prerequisite: plan for the move. All that you're building for now is for the next place you're going to be in, and that's in verse 11.

"For so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly in the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ." That's where you're going. Build now with that move in mind later. Build with the move in mind. An abundant entrance, look at it: "An entrance will be supplied abundantly." Let me tell you this: the Greeks used this term "an abundant entrance" to describe an Olympic athlete who won in the Olympics, and came back home, and he would be greeted with an "abundant entrance" they called it. The town would show up. There would be songs that were sung, and cheers that went up, and he received an abundant welcome. I read about a man who decided to go across the Atlantic Ocean. A lot of people have tried to sail that and have done it.

But what made this remarkable, it was the smallest boat ever to go across the Atlantic Ocean. It was only thirteen feet long. Can you imagine? That's like a surfboard, thirteen feet long. He called it Tinkerbelle. His name was Robert Manry. Took him seventy-eight days. He said his rudder broke several times. He was washed overboard several times. And sometimes in the shipping lanes it was so bad, he said, "I could not sleep. I had to stay awake for several days, because it was too dangerous." He took the rope and bound himself to the boat so he'd stay on it. Seventy-eight days later he could see the shores of England. The only thing that went through his mind is, "I need a hotel room, I need a shower, and I need to sleep for like a week or so." He was just so discouraged, so tired.

But as he's nearing the shore, there were three hundred other boats there to welcome him to shore. And when he got to shore, there were 40,000 people in a crowd cheering him on for making the journey successfully. At that moment he didn't think about how tired he was. He didn't think about how discouraged he was. He didn't think about a shower. It felt so good. When you stand in heaven and that crown goes on your head, you will never regret the hours you spent in Bible study or prayer or sharing your faith or helping another person grow or working hard to build up somebody else. You never will. You are to build and plan for the move, an abundant entrance in heaven. You're all going to get there. If you know Christ, if you've been born again, if you've received faith, you will get there in heaven one day.

But do you know and have you ever thought about this: some will get a more glorious entrance than others. Do you know that? First Corinthians 3, Paul says, "There will be a time of testing at the judgment day to see what kind of work each builder has done. Some will receive a reward," that's an abundant entrance, "but others will be saved, but like somebody escaping through a wall of flames." How are you going to arrive? Will there be an abundant entrance? Will all the angels and saints say, "Yes! It's our joy to have you." Or will there be somebody kind of going, "Whew! I didn't know if you'd make it, man. I'm glad you're here, but, you know, Peter and I, we were taking bets." You're going to get there because you believe in Christ. That's sufficient.

But what will the entrance be like, as well as the stay, the rewards that will be garnered. The gains of heaven will more than compensate for all the losses of earth. Well, back to that Leaning Tower of Pisa. I said it was going to fall, right? It doesn't fall in 2007. You know why? Because they knew it was going to fall into the restaurant that it's facing. Interesting lunch. So what they did is they moved it back. They moved it back to its 1838 position. Now the experts say it's going to fall in the year 2300, 2300. So we have some time. You could eat at that restaurant safely. However, what they want you to know is it's going to fall. I just wonder something: if the builders who build it shouldn't have researched what the name Pisa means in its origin.

The word "Pisa," Leaning Tower of Pisa and the town of Pisa, the word "Pisa" means marshy ground. Yeah, if you build on marshy ground, the tower is going to fall, so you need to build on a solid foundation. "On Christ the solid Rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand," marshy ground. So make sure that your life is, first of all, built on the right foundation. Let's pray.

Father, we just thank you for Peter's simple, clear words. These are the words of a fisherman who just understood what was important, and he gives it to us straight up, and makes it so easy for us to grasp. Lord, I pray first of all that everyone hearing this would have a firm foundation underneath them, and the kind of faith that they're relying on would be the faith that is given as a gift, cannot be added to in terms of salvation. But once received, I pray you'd convince the rest of us of our need to build and add and exert and work and always expand, because we're planning for a move. I pray if somebody doesn't know you today, that right now that would change.

And if you are here and you don't know Jesus personally, you've never made a personal commitment, a simple commitment and trust, would you just in your heart say right now to him:

Lord, I know I'm a sinner. I pray that you would forgive me. I turn from my past. I know where I've come from. And I turn to you in the present, because I'm thinking of the future. I believe Jesus died for me on a cross and rose again from the dead. And I commit my life to you, because you have given your life to me, and everything I need to build this life. Help me, help me, Lord, to just live for you, in Jesus' name, amen.

Are you Human?:*