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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Dr. Tony Evans » Tony Evans - Failure In Your Journey

Tony Evans - Failure In Your Journey

Tony Evans - Failure In Your Journey
Tony Evans - Failure In Your Journey

I regularly tell couples that your first year of marriage is going to be tumultuous. Because after you make the legal declaration and start living together, and all that stuff that was hidden while dating begins to manifest itself, you will now have to face the reality of life together, both the pleasures and the pain of that reality, and that to grow the relationship is gonna take some work. The "I do" was easy. The work afterwards, it's gonna take some effort because things are gonna be manifested, things that were unseen, unknown, unanticipated as there is the goal of growing the relationship. When you and I said "I do" to Jesus Christ, a legal event occurred in heaven.

The formal term for it in Scripture is "justification," where God declares the believing sinner as righteous before his throne. It is where, when you trust Christ as Savior, the heavenly Father says, "Not guilty". And in that moment, you become a child of God, a son or daughter of the living God. But then there's life after salvation. That can be a little bit traumatic, tumultuous. Yes, I am forgiven in heaven, but how am I gonna make it on Earth? That's what Peter wants to talk to us about. The experience of life in Christ now that you've gotten the legal situated in heaven, justification, this process of spiritual development or growth to experience the relationship.

That's why we saw last time in verse 8 of chapter 1 that if we are growing, you become useful and fruitful in the true knowledge of Jesus Christ. You become useful to God and fruitful for God. You become productive and reproductive for God because you're growing. Every Christian has had deposited in their soul the seed called the divine nature, verse 4. This divine nature, the seed of God, has been planted in the soil of the soul of every person who comes to Christ for salvation. The goal or responsibility of the Christian is to grow the seed in the soil. If the seed does not grow, then the experience of the reality of Christ is not being manifested. And so, Jesus still stays a concept of reality that you believe in, but not an experiential relationship that you have.

So the purpose of growth is to make Christ real in you, the true knowledge of Jesus Christ or the experiential knowledge of Jesus Christ. So that it is not just a seed, but now, that seed begins to sprout life while God wants to sprout his reality in your soul. But that only happens through growth. It doesn't just happen. It's guaranteed, but it's not automatic. And so, you must participate in the growth process, just as a baby must suck milk in order to participate in the life that it possesses. And so, God wants you to grow. Now, this growth starts off as a choice. There must be the decision to grow or there will be no growth. Growth doesn't just pop out of nowhere. There must be the decision to grow. That's why he spent these first eight verses telling you to grow in your personal, experiential relationship with Jesus Christ. It starts with a decision. It is unfortunate today that many Christians are satisfied with spiritual pacifiers.

A pacifier is designed to trick a baby. It's designed to fool a baby. You pretend like the baby is getting something. The baby thinks when you put it in his mouth, it's gonna get something, until it discovers, "Mama, you messing with me". You're giving me a form of feeding with no substance. You're giving me something to suck on, but I'm not getting any milk. Because you can suck on church. You can come and think you'd have done something because you didn't come to the ecclesiastical pacifier when there's no feeding really going on. So there must be the decision not to be satisfied to be pacified. You don't just wanna feel something good under your tongue or in your mouth, you want something that's gonna digest inside your soul so that the new nature can expand and grow in your belly so you can get swole spiritually.

So that doesn't just happen. It is possible, watch this, to be a Christian and not experientially know the Lord. He is a cognitive reality in your head, not an experiential reality in your life. And the goal of growth is to make him real in your experience, not merely in your brain. Philip, the disciple Philip, had been with the Lord a number of years, and in John chapter 14, verse 9, he says, "Jesus, we have been with you. We like hanging with you, but when are we gonna see the Father? Because we wanna see the Big Mahoff? You nice, but when are we gonna see the Big Daddy"? Jesus said to him, "Have I been with you this long and you still do not know me? When you see me, you've seen the Father".

In other words, he had been with Jesus, but he still didn't know him. So you can hang out with Jesus, hang out with Jesus people, hang out in Jesus buildings, carry a Jesus book, use Jesus language, and still not know Jesus. Even though Philip was saved, he was a believer, but he didn't get it yet. God wants us to get it, but to get it, you've got to grow it, and growth must be an intentional decision that you make. The second law of thermodynamics says: Things left unto themselves will tend toward deterioration. So it is with your spiritual experience with experiencing the reality of God. There must be the decision that I want to prioritize my spiritual development or it will not happen. God has already put in you all that you need to grow because the new nature contains all of the new life of God, but it must be fed properly in order for that life to expand within your soul. I've said it before.

Let me say it again. There are a lot of Christians who have great wishes and desires. "I wanna grow," they'll tell you in a minute. That's like somebody saying, "I want to lose weight". You can go to your grave wanting to lose weight, because wanting to and deciding to aren't the same thing. One is an emotion. The other is a decision. So there must be the decision. He is saying in these first 11 verses of 2 Peter chapter 1, "I want to grow to experience the reality of Jesus Christ alive in me. I don't wanna live off of everybody else's testimony about how it really is. I want him to grow in my soul". Verse 9: "For he who lacks these qualities is blind or shortsighted, having forgotten his purification from his former sins".

Let me read it again. That's all we'll talk about for the rest of the time today. Verse 9: "For he who lacks these qualities is blinded or shortsighted, having forgotten his purification from his sins". If you are not growing, lack these qualities, you're not growing spiritually, it is because you can't see straight. He says "you're blind," which means you can't see at all or "you're shortsighted". In other words, you're only looking at what's in front of you close-up. He says the reason why people don't grow is they're so focused on Earth, what they can see with their five senses, that they missed an eternal perspective. Unless you possess an eternal perspective, then you will not experience the life of Christ in history. If all you're thinking about is this world order...

Now, you gotta live in the world. You gotta function in the world. But he's talking about your perspective about prioritizing growth. If all you are living for is time and you have very little or no, "blind," spiritual eternal perspective, if all your life is about "now," then spiritual growth will not be a priority. Therefore, it will not be an experience. Therefore, you'll be useless, not useful. Therefore, you'll be fruitless, not fruitful. Therefore, you will not have an abundant entrance into heaven. That's yet to be explained. But God saved you because he wanted to use you. But God saved you because he had a use of you, and he had some fruit. He wanted to be produced by you for him that benefited others, that advanced his kingdom. That's your calling and election.

So, if you live all of your life for time, very little of your life to grow spiritually for the purposes of eternity, you will be "useless and fruitless," he says in verse 8. But he says you don't have to be useless and fruitless, because in verse 9, he says, "All you gotta do is get some glasses". See, 'cause he says, "You have a seeing problem". He wants you to look further than you can see, and he wants you to rob from eternity, bring it into time so that you get both, so that you grow, so that you get to experience this. Hebrews chapter 2, verse 3 says, "How shall we escape, if we neglect so great a salvation," neglect, complacent about the salvation that we have. It is to be pursued. Once you accept Christ, it is to be pursued for your growth.

I love how Hebrews 6 says it. Let me read Hebrews 6. Verse 1 says, "Therefore leaving the elementary principals," get out of elementary school, "Therefore leaving the elementary teachings about the Christ, let us press on to maturity". You see that? Let us go forward to go deeper. Let us graduate from kindergarten and graduate from elementary and graduate from junior high.

Notice what he says in verse 8: "But beloved," fellow Christians, "we are convinced of better things concerning you," you can do better than this, "things that accompany salvation," now that you've been born again, you gotta get the other stuff that comes with it, "though we are speaking this way. For God is not unjust so as to forget your work or the love, which you've shown toward his name, and having ministered, and is still ministering to the saints. And we desire that each of you show the same diligence," diligence, commitment to it, "so as to realize the full insurance of hope until the end, so that you will not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and practice inherit the promises".

Go for it. Go for it! Don't be sluggish! Be diligent! And say, "Jesus, I want all of you that I can get, not just knowledge about you, but experience with you". That decision has to be made and that has to go beyond desire. That's got to be a decision. Because if you lack these things, you will not experience it, and you have a short-term view. Now, I'm sure that there's some are saying, "Wow". Because these people in the Hebrews, some of them were saved for 30 years. And he tells them in Hebrews chapter 5, verses 11 to 14, he said, "You still babies. You're 30-year-old babies". So there must be the decision to go for it with an eternal perspective applied in history, prioritizing my goal to know him. I just go to church, and I just read the Bible. All of those are factors, but the goal of it is always to know him.

Paul said it in Philippians 3, "That I might know him". Spiritual development must be the goal. So, why isn't it the goal? I mean, we say it's the goal. We mean it to be the goal. We make promises it's gonna be the goal. And then, have you ever noticed how all your spiritual commitments keep getting interrupted? You say you gonna pray more, you gonna read the Bible more, you gonna do this more, you gonna do that more, and you really meant it when you said it. You weren't shucking and jiving. You meant it. But you ever know how stuff keep popping up? That wasn't chance. That was the enemy's attempt to keep you from being diligent to go after it. Because he knows if you get swole, you can do one of them numbers, one of them numbers spiritually that he loses his authority in your life. He tells us why, or the biggest hindrance to our spiritual development, in verse 9. He says at the end of the verse, "Having forgotten the purification from his former sins".

There it is. The reason I don't grow like I should, you don't grow like you should, we don't grow like we should, is we forgot what happened at Calvary. That's what he says. The cross is to be the central point of reference for all of life. That's why Paul could say in Galatians 2:20, "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, is Christ who lives in me: the life which I now live I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me". In other words, my whole identity is the cross. He says in Galatians chapter 6, verse 14, "May it never be that I boast in anything other than the cross of Christ". And Jesus had died already many years earlier. He says, "But when I brag, I'm going to brag only about the cross". What is it about this cross? Why should the cross be the point of reference for all of life? Because on the cross, 2 Corinthians 5:21 says, "He who knew no sin became sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in him".

Acts 10:43 says, "It is because of his death we have the forgiveness of sins". You have to understand, I have to be reminded, we have to be reminded of what took place on the cross. On the cross, you remember Jesus was on the cross, hanging on the cross, and he uttered a statement. He says, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me"? It's one of his seven saying on the cross: "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me"? There is a breach in the Trinity, and in some way that I don't understand, God's got to explain this to us when we get to heaven. God stopped being God without stopping to be God so God could continue to be God for us. I don't know how you could do that. And it was all because "God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life".

God interrupt being God because of our sin. Our sin drove him to the cross because he could not compromise his character. He could not dumb down his standard. He could not grade on the curve. So on the cross, God took the penalty so he could satisfy his just wrath against sin while simultaneously expressing his love without compromising his justice. And so, when Jesus hangs his head and dies, he utters three words, that's one word in Greek, "tetelestai," "it is finished". That means "paid in full," to which the Father says, "I am now satisfied," propitiation. The Father is satisfied with the death of his Son so that whoever comes to his Son is given by his Son eternal life at no cost to us. Let me ask you a question. If somebody came to you and you knew they were real, they had the capacity, and they had the love for you, and they said, "Here's what I wanna do. I will not only pay for all you have accumulated. I'm gonna tell you in advance. I'm going to pay for all you will accumulate. So for the rest of your life, there will be no bills".

Now, I don't know about you, but that's worth a worship service. Every time I see that person, I don't even have to see him, every time I think about him, every time they come to mind, I'm gonna make a big deal about that because they took all of my past debt and loved me so much, they gonna take care of all of my future debt. And you telling me I ain't gonna have time if they wanna see me? I ain't gonna have time if they call me? I ain't gonna have time if they wanna talk to me? And they paid my past, present, and future debt? You got to be out of your mind! And so, what God is saying in verse 9 is "appreciate the cross". Value Calvary. Value what was done so it can be said to you like he said in 2 Thessalonians verse 1, verse 3. He said, "You Christians are growing in your faith, and you're loving the family of God, and it's making God happy".

Oh, by the way, when Jesus paid your bills, he took care of any accrued interest. He covers it all. What's his point in verse 9? "That Christians remain spiritually underdeveloped by losing sight of the greatness of their salvation". And I will confess, it's easy to do because we are bombarded by this world. It's easy to do. But this world ain't paying your bills, not your spiritual bills, not paying those bills. Listen, when you get to heaven, you will have a glorified body. You will be the perfect you you were meant to be. Every believer gets a glorified body. All scars will be removed. You will be the perfect age, the age of Adam and Eve, whatever age they were, the perfect adult age. You will not have human limitations that you have now. You'll be the same race. You'll be the same gender but in perfect form because of the new glorified body. You will be the perfect you. However, when you get to heaven, there will be one scarred person. There will be one person who will have scars because when Jesus arose from the dead in his glorified body, he retained the nail prints in his hands.

He retained the nail prints in his feet, and he retained the scar in his side. That's why he could tell Doubting Thomas. After he rose from the dead, he says, "I won't believe him until I see him". Jesus came to him and said, "See these scars in my hand. Touch them. See these scars in my feet. Touch them. See the scar on my side. Touch it". He was in his glorified body, but he still bore the scars. Why will Jesus Christ in heaven still bear scars when you are in your perfect, glorified body? So that 100 quadzillion years from now, there will be the eternal reminder. Every time you meet him at Gold Street and Silver Boulevard, there will be the eternal reminder that your redemption came because Jesus the Christ had nails in his hands, nails in his feet, a spear in his side, crowns on his head because he loved you with an everlasting love. And all he's asking in the meantime is that you give him a little of your time, you give him a little of your attention, that you grow in him because he just wants to get to know you.
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