Like Precious Faith (2 Peter 1:12-15)

Intro: What connects us together – Different people from different places? Notice how the apostle Peter describes the Christians he is addressing.

  • 2 Peter 1:1-2 – To those who have obtained like precious faith with us by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ: 2 Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord,

Like precious faith – Peter tells them they have obtained a common faith. He says that faith is like precious. This compound phrase means “of equal value or honor”. The idea presented is that the faith they had received was held in honor equally among them. I believe that the faith here is objective, the faith once for all delivered. It was not a gospel fort just a few privileged ones. It was equally honorable to all. It may point to individual subjective faith, but the point is the same. God has given the same revelation to all, producing a common faith in every believer.

Over the next year we are going to investigate our responsibility to live up to God’s calling. The words of Peter in 2 Peter 1:3-4 mention our calling: – 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, 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. Peter tells these Christians how they obtained their precious faith – God gave it to them! Not is some mystical sense, but through the revelation of the truth about Jesus. This is at the heart of God’s calling, and our responsibility.

I. Everything We Need: God has given us all that we need to live up to our calling.

A. Peter says God’s divine power has given us “all things that pertain to life and godliness”. The “all things” that Peter speaks of are things that we could not obtain apart from God’s giving. What God supplies is sufficient for us. We do not need the sciences or philosophies of human ingenuity. We do not need psychological techniques or church programs. We need what God supplies through our knowledge of Him. We can and must live by faith, that comes through hearing the word of God.

1. Jesus came to give what men and women needed. Jesus often offered that which surpassed anything the person possessed or could possess on his own.

• John 4:10 – If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.” 4:13-14 – “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst”

• John 5:39-4039 You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me.40 But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.

• John 6:27 – 27 Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal on Him.” 6:35 – “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.

2. The things that we need come through the knowledge of God, or what God has revealed of His knowledge. Pulpit commentary summarizes 1 Peter 1:3 as saying “We need not fear, for God has given us all things that are necessary for our salvation; grace and peace will be multiplied unto us, if only we seek the knowledge of God”

3. This text also teaches us that the truth that we need has already been provided. This corresponds to the promise of Jesus in John 16, that He would send the Holy Spirit and that the Spirit would guide the apostles into all the truth. The gospel message is a closed revelation. There are not further revelations or present day prophets dispensing additional truth.

a. The N.T. church was called upon to continue in the apostles’ teaching, and to hold fast to that which they had received.

b. The purpose of the apostle’s epistle is here introduced. Why was Peter writing this letter? What purpose does the Holy Spirit have in mind? To reveal all the things necessary for life. Jesus promised the apostles that the Holy Spirit would guide them into all truth (John 16:13). They were commissioned to testify to the whole world what the Holy Spirit would reveal. Peter is writing to fulfill this commission and teach the truth that brings life. What an enormous responsibility!

II. Peter’s Purpose: Peter addresses responsibility from both directions here – His responsibility to teach and their responsibility to learn. I want to jump ahead and look at what Peter tells us about his own responsibility. What was he attempting to accomplish?

A. 2 Peter 1:12-15 – For this reason I will not be negligent to remind you always of these things, though you know and are established in the present truth.13 Yes, I think it is right, as long as I am in this tent, to stir you up by reminding you,14 knowing that shortly I must put off my tent, just as our Lord Jesus Christ showed me.15 Moreover I will be careful to ensure that you always have a reminder of these things after my decease.

1. Peter identifies his goal by the repetition of a word in vs. 12, 13 & again in 15. Remind. Peter wanted to remind these Christians of what they already knew from God’s revelation.

2. Do you ever need to be reminded? Forgetfulness can be harmless or it can be deadly. If I forget to take out the trash, the consequences may not be so great. But if I forget to put on my seatbelt

3. Peter sees the word already revealed as the answer to the inward threat of false teaching that he is going to address in this letter. There was no new or novel answer to false doctrine. Christians simply need to be reminded of what they have already been taught.

B. “Though you know…” Even those who already knew the truth needed to be reminded. IF you saw a miracle would you ever forget it? If God personally spoke to you or miraculously fed you, would you be able to forget Him?

1. Turn your Bibles to Duet. 4. Consider the admonition that God gives the Israelites as they prepare to enter the Promised Land.

a. Vs. 1 – listen to the statures of God

b. Vs. 2 – do not add to or take away from the statutes

c. In vs. 5, Moses says I have taught you everything you need to know. But be warned:

• Deut 4:9 – 9 Only take heed to yourself, and diligently keep yourself, lest you forget the things your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. And teach them to your children and your grandchildren,

• Deut 4:23-24 – 23 Take heed to yourselves, lest you forget the covenant of the LORD your God which He made with you, and make for yourselves a carved image in the form of anything which the LORD your God has forbidden you.24 For the LORD your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.

d. Later in chapter 6:12 he warns them again to not forget the Lord who brought you out of Egypt. What did this forgetting of God entail? They would not forget Him literally, but they would forget His law and through their disobedience they would forget their God.

e. Is it possible for us to forget God? What can present this? We need to be reminded.

C. “established in the present truth”– Peter affirms that these Christians are no ignorant of God’s word or will for their lives. He says they are established in the present truth.

1. The term “present truth” means literally “the truth that is with us– Col 1:5-6 – 5 because of the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, of which you heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel, 6 which has come to you, as it has also in all the world, and is bringing forth fruit, as it is also among you since the day you heard and knew the grace of God in truth; Paul describes the word as being “among them” since they day they heard it. This may refer to the fullness of the revelation as opposed to a time when the full truth was no yet revealed. Or it could refer to a nearness of the word in the obedient and responsive lives of those who hear it. David said he would hide the word in his heart that he might not sin against God. Is the truth present with you or do you leave it at the church building?

D. “to stir you up”- Peter’s desire was not just to bring to their minds certain facts about Jesus, but to “stir them up”. Barnes says it means… “To excite or arouse you to a diligent performance of your duties; to keep up in your minds a lively sense of Divine things.” Peter uses the term again in 2 Peter 3:1- “Beloved, I now write to you this second epistle (in both of which I stir up your pure minds by way of reminder) 2 that you may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us, the apostles of the Lord and Savior”, Have you stirred anybody up lately?

III. Peter’s Motivation: Why does Peter take his responsibility to remind these Christians so seriously? In the text he gives three reasons:

A. “I will not be negligent” – Peter knew that Christ had given him a charge.

1. After Jesus predicted Peter’s personal denial of Christ, Jesus also gave him a charge – Luke 22:32 “But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.”

2. After Peter’s restoration to Christ Jesus ask Peter three times “Do you love me?” Three times Peter says yes, and Jesus ‘response is “feed my sheep” (John 21)

3. We also have a personal obligation to remind other Christians of their responsibility to God through bringing to their remembrance the words of God.

B. “I think it is right” – warning other Christians and reminding other Christians was the right thing to do. (I think it meet, i.e., suitable).

C. “I will endeavor” – Peter’s third motivation is discovered in his use of the word “endeavor” (KJV); (“make every effort” – NIV) in vs. 15. It is the same word he used in 1:5 & 1:10 translated “be diligent“. This word indicates an urgency and fervency of action. To hasten to do something. Peter knew he was going to die and he only had so much time to accomplish his task. Do you know that you are going to die? Are you endeavoring to let others know about Christ?

Conclusion: Notice in verse 15 that Peter expresses his desire to have an impact on others even beyond his own death. There are many who seek a legacy – through human accomplishments, even good deeds. But Peter knows what lasts. Earlier in his first epistle he reminded them of their own conversion to Christ:

  • 1 Peter 1:23-25- 23 having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever, 24 because “All flesh is as grass, And all the glory of man as the flower of the grass. The grass withers, And its flower falls away, 25 But the word of the LORD endures forever. “Now this is the word which by the gospel was preached to you.

If you want to have an influence beyond your own life – teach the word of God to another. The word will never die, and those who obey it will live. Let me remind you once more of what God has given you. He gave you His own Son. What will you give Him?