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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Dr. Tony Evans » Tony Evans - Supplements For Your Journey

Tony Evans - Supplements For Your Journey

Tony Evans - Supplements For Your Journey
Tony Evans - Supplements For Your Journey

Peter's concern is that believers maximize their experience with God in time and have an overwhelming entrance into eternity. He doesn't want us to wait to heaven to experience some of it now. And so he has told us in the first four verses of 2 Peter 1, that everything you need to become all God wants you to be, you already have. He's given you a divine person, Jesus Christ. With that divine person comes divine power, batteries are included, the power of the person is connected to the person that you possess. Not only has he given you a divine person and a divine power, he says he's given you a divine presence, the divine nature, verse 4 says. The actual essence of God is residing in every true believer.

If you're here today and you are a Christian, the nature of Deity resides in your soul, God himself resides there, but he resides there in seed form. And like any seed, all that the seed has to offer can only be expressed as the seed grows. So a growth process is necessary for the seed to unveil all that it has to offer. Many of us take vitamin or mineral supplements. Supplements are designed to do one of a number of things, one thing that we take vitamins for is to replenish something that's missing in our own nutritional makeup. We don't have enough vitamin A or B or C or D, so we take supplements to replace what's lacking. The issue is, however, nothing is lacking in the new nature, because it's God and God is complete, or, as Colossians 2:10 says, "You are complete in Him".

So the new nature doesn't need to be supplemented, the divine nature is all of God in you. So, we don't need a supplement to help out something lacking in the God in you, if Christ is indeed in you, which means you possess the new nature and the power that belongs to it. But there's another reason why people take supplements, and another reason that people take supplements is to extend and expand something already there. So it's not that you're trying to replace something that's missing, you're trying to take something that's there and expand it. So, all of God you're ever going to experience in your soul is already resident in your soul in seed form, but God has some supplements he wants you to take. And he says if you take these supplements, the God who is there will expand your experience of him in your soul. He gives seven supplements that he wants you to take, each supplement builds on the preceding supplement. He says in verse 5, "To your faith supply moral excellence".

So the first vitamin we're gonna take today is a vitamin called moral excellence. So, the question is, "What is moral excellence"? Some versions say, "Virtue". The Greek term there is a term that refers to something that is fulfilling its purpose for existence. So, the question is, "Well, what's my purpose"? A lot of times, people will go around and say, "I don't know my purpose, I wish God would show me my purpose". That's really a sub-question, because what he's talking about here belongs to every Christian. 1 Corinthians 10:31 says, "Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God". Your divinely ordained purpose is to glorify God.

Romans 11, verse 36, says, "For from Him, through Him, and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever". Matthew 5:16 says, "Let men see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven". Your overriding purpose in life, for which you have been saved and for which God has deposited the divine nature in your soul, is to make him look good. Glory means to advertise, put on display, highlight, promote. So, guess why God saved you? He saved you to make him look good. You are being virtuous, living in moral excellence, when you are intentionally seeking to advertise the true and living God. So, when there is no advertisement of God, as he has revealed himself in the Word, the seed is stymied, it cannot expand, because it's hungry for something it's not being fed, because God exists for God, and so you exist for the God who exists for himself. When God looks at you, he wants to see Him, because we're supposed to be mirrors of the divine.

So important is this goal, this virtuous goal, this moral excellence, that he says, "I want it to comprehensively envelop your life". 1 Corinthians 10:31, "Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God". So, he's not just talking about big stuff, he talking about, "The little stuff you do without even thinking, eating, drinking, whatever you do, I want to be on your mind. And the more I'm on your mind, the more I'm eating," because now, the new nature is being fed in the soul of the believer what it wants and needs to extend what it already is. We live in a world that wants to compete with the glory of God and the new nature does not expand.

So, add to your faith virtue, your intended purpose, what's next? "And in your moral excellence," the end of verse 5 says, "I want you to supply knowledge". Oh, because, wait a minute, if I'm supposed to be virtuous and glorifying God is my goal, then I need to find out what he expects. So I need some more information, I need knowledge, so that I can be accurate in my virtue. So to grow my faith, I need to live for his glory, but to live for his glory I need the information of what that looks like and how that works, so I need knowledge.

I love Colossians chapter 1, Colossians chapter 1 put it this way. When he's talking to the believers in that church, he says, Paul says, in verse 9, "For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you will be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you may walk in a worthy manner of the Lord, to please Him in all aspects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God". Says, "I want you to know His will, and I want you to please Him in every area of your life, and to have the knowledge of God". God tells us to love Him with our minds, "Love the Lord your God with your heart, soul, and your mind". He wants to impart his truth to you, when it's attached to glory from you, based on his truth to you, there is the expansion. You are to live based on God-based knowledge. That's why John 7:17 says God will teach, "Anyone who is willing to do His will".

So the second vitamin is knowledge. A third supplement, he says, "And in your knowledge," verse 6, "self-control," self-control in your knowledge. So I want to glorify God, I made that decision, I'm coming to church, I'm reading my Bible, I'm having devotions or all the means. I am now getting knowledge. Once I get the information that's now attached to the virtue, which is now attached to the faith, I am now to add self-control. Self-control is the absence of self-indulgence, self-control means to no longer be enslaved to an appetite. Now, that appetite can come in in a lot of different ways, to be enslaved to food, to be enslaved to sex, to be enslaved to gambling. Lack of self-control means the desire controls you, you don't control it. You can say no to wrong and yes to right, even though the flesh may still want to say yes to wrong and no to right. Why? Because self-control can be added to the information that's been added to the virtue that's been added to the faith, because everything is expanding in the soul now.

So, he says, "Add self-control," it's basically strength under control. There are three areas. Well, we all need this, we all need it at different levels, but we all need it, with our mouth, with our mind and with our morals. He says if the new nature gets to eat, the faith gets to eat the virtue and the virtue gets to eat the knowledge, they don't start gobbling up control. Self-control, see? And that's when, you know, that's when God becomes real. When stuff you couldn't control you now control, all of a sudden, God has just become real, whether or not the desire has shifted. He said self-control, meeting legitimate needs in legitimate ways, rejecting the illegitimate.

And then he comes to supplement number four, he says, "Add to your self-control, I want you to add to that, perseverance". Okay, here it is, watch this now. Perseverance, perseverance means you cannot quit until God legitimately releases you. Perseverance usually comes up in Scripture when there are difficulties that you're facing. But Colossians 1, verse 11, says God strengthens us for the purpose of patience. James 5, verses 10 and 11, says don't you remember Job and his patience? Don't leave too soon, because God got to start all over again. Why, why can I have patience, how can I add patience? Because you now just got self-control, you see? So, if I can control things now, I can wait on stuff I couldn't wait to before, because my patience, I'm adding to something I can now control, and I can control it because now I got my information straight, and I got my information straight because I now got my virtue and purpose right, which means my faith has grown, which means the new nature is going crazy inside my soul.

"Add to your perseverance, godliness". That's what he's after. Godliness is a lifestyle consistently reflecting the character of God, it is where pleasing God is a lifestyle, not an event. Okay, let me say this, when are you adding godliness in the context of perseverance, why does he want you to add godliness attached to perseverance? Because perseverance tempts you to be ungodly. So when you waiting and you don't wanna wait, and you can say, "I don't care, I'll go do my thing, you know"? Perseverance tempts us all to be ungodly. He says, "No, when God has you this way in this way and he hasn't released you, I want you to add more godliness to it". When you were born, inside your soul was a sin nature, let's call it a sin-producing factory. Everybody's born with a factory in their soul, it's called a sin nature in Scripture. The job of this sin nature is to roll out sin, that's all it does.

When Jesus Christ came into your life, he closed the factory. Stay with me here, the factory was closed. For Romans 6 says that we, our nature, "Was crucified with Him". To crucify is to kill, so God shut down the factory and put in a new factory, the divine nature. There's only one thing the new factory produces, righteousness, because it's God, it's perfect, so there's nothing wrong that can come out of the new nature because it's God. So, that raises a question, doesn't it? If God shut down the old factory, why am I still struggling with sin? That's a question, because you just said that the whole factory has been closed, but don't look closed to me. When they closed "General Motors," the cars that were already produced by General Motors are still on the highway. When the sin nation was open, the sin that it produced was let off the lot and is now riding on the flesh. The flesh is the highway system that your humanity has, on which the vehicles of sin ride that were produced when the factory was open.

In fact, not only are the cars of sin that was produced when the factory was open riding on the highway, there were cars that were produced that hadn't left a lot yet, that are just waiting for the opportunity to get on the highway. So, the problem with sin in the Bible, when it talks to Christians, is never a problem of the factory, the new nature, it's a problem of the flesh, the highway system. And the highway system can get real crowded, watch this now, especially when the new factory is not allowed to operate. So, when the new nature is kept from eating what it needs to grow, then the older things produced by the old factory still dominate, even in the life of a Christian, because the new factory has not been allowed to produce what it produces, godliness, that which is Godlike, righteous, pleasing God. And as that grows during the times of waiting on God, oh, the new nature is just going crazy. It's eating, it's eating, it's eating, it's eating, it's eating, it's growing, it's growing, it's growing, it's growing.

It comes to number six, "And add to your godliness, brotherly kindness". "Brotherly kindness," he calls it, phileo, so it has the idea of being kind to somebody who's a family member. Out of our godliness should come kindness. He says, "I want, out of your godly relationship with me, that's the horizontal and the vertical, to be a kindness toward the other members of my family, because you're not an only child". "Our Father who art in heaven," not my daddy who is in heaven. Watch this, that's why God wants every Christian to be a vibrant part of a local church, he wants to give you family practice. Many a child was fine as long as they were an only child, soon as that second kid came along they had problems because there was a brother, there was a sister, that was eroding on their space, because in a family with multiple kids, it's not just about you. That's why it's wrong to want the benefit of the family but make no investment in the family.

That's one of the reasons God puts irregular people in your life, people you don't like that you also can't get rid of, to teach you brotherly kindness. Now, we don't mean not speak the truth in love, even when you speak the truth, he says do it in love, do it, you don't have to be mean to be honest. And then, he culminates it, from brotherly kindness with his epic statement, "And add to brotherly kindness, love". Mhm, that's a different Greek word, that's agape, brotherly kindness is phileo. So, let me define agape, agape is the decision to compassionately, righteously and sacrificially meet the needs of another. Let me say that again, agape, love, is the decision. Why I'm am saying it again? Because it's not merely the emotion. "I want a divorce because we're not in love anymore, we're not in love anymore".

What they're saying is, "I don't feel the way I used to feel," that's what they're saying, now that the emotion is gone, but when the new nature is operating, and it's pumping because all these things are being added on, love becomes a decision even when the emotions aren't cooperating. "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son". Romans 5:8, "For God demonstrated His love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners," we weren't on his side, "Christ died for us". His compassion without compromising his standard, righteous, made him willing to sacrifice, which is why the Bible even tells us to, "Love our enemies, to bless those who curse you, and curse them back not". That takes a lot of strength, to not curse out somebody who cursing out you, that takes a lot of strength, that takes new-nature strength.

So, guess what? God is not trying to send you out here to a love program, he's trying to get the new nature to get so pregnant inside of you that you're reacting like Christ would react if he was in the same situation. Let me tell you why love, this love thing, is such a big deal. This is a big deal, big deal, because God defines himself by it. It says, "God is love," okay? Doesn't say, "Love is God," it says, "God is love," he is that. In other words, it defines him, this definition of love, the decision to compassionately, righteously, and sacrificially seek the well-being of another, he says, "That's who I am". Well, how is that so? God has never existed outside of a love relationship.

Number one, he's never been alone, because the true God, the God of the Bible, is a Triune being, one God composed of three coequal persons, who are distinct in personality, yet one in essence. The Father is not the Son, the Son is not the Spirit, but they make up this one family, and they love each other to death, they love each other perfectly. This is perfect love because it's a perfect being. So, when Jesus was on earth, he says, "I work because My Father works, My Father gives life so I give life. Whatever I see my Father doing, that's what I do".

God the Father looks down at the Son and says, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I'm well pleased". Mmh. So when we develop this epic definition of love, watch this now, when we get to this stage, stage seven, and seven is the number of perfection, when we get to this stage, I guess something happens, God invites us in to his Trinitarian intimacy. He says, "Son, Spirit, we got one, we got one who is becoming so much like us in the new nature, why don't we invite them in"? You're gonna see, maybe next week or the week after, everybody's not invited in. See, just because you say it don't mean he's gonna say, "Many are called, but few are chosen," because everybody is not invited into this one, everybody's not invited in. When the Trinity says to that one, who where the new nature has been expanding and expanding and expanding and expanding, and the Father says, "Because they have now connected with who We are, We are now going to give them the deepest experience of our reality, in time, and ultimately, in eternity".
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