Intro: As we begin a new year we are often focused on what is coming – what will the next year bring? We often make resolutions about the future. But it is also a time for looking back – A time for giving thanks for what we have been given. I am compelled to consider how God has blessed me. Our God is such a Giver.
God’s greatest gifts are not physical, but rather spiritual. It is easier to recognize our physical blessings, isn’t it? It takes more discernment to see the value of God’s spiritual gifts. But taking inventory of our spiritual blessings maybe the best preparation for the future.
When Peter wrote to the young Christians in Asia Minor, he wanted them to be prepared to face the opposition and persecution that was surely coming. As we noticed in our recent study of the first chapter of 2nd Peter, the apostle began by describing to these Christians what God had provided for them.
• 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,
A. Like precious faith – Peter describes a common faith. They shared their faith in Christ with each other. It described as precious. This word has two applicable distinctions: What is precious is
1) costly – it cannot be obtained without a great price.
2) Honorable – it is something to be desired and not despised.
• 2 Peter 1:3-4 – 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.
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.
1. 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 5:39-40 – 39 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. 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!
I. 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 n 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 the price I pay may be very high.
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 Deut 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:
d. 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,
e. 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.
f. Later in chapter 6:12 he warns them again to not forget the Lord who brought you out of Egypt. What did this forgetting God entail? They would not forget Him literally, but they would forget His law and through their disobedience they would forget their God.
2. Is it possible for us to forget God? 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?
II. Why should we study things we already know? Why should we remind ourselves of “present truth”? In the text Peter gives three reasons for his repetition of the present truth:
A. “I will not be negligent” – Peter knew that Christ had given him a charge. It would be negligence for Peter to fail to remind Christians of what they already knew. 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.”
1. 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)
2. 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 be careful to ensure; 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. Are you endeavoring to let others know about Christ?
Conclusion: A look at our theme for this year… The truth we already know… the fundamental truths of our faith. Join us as we study together.
- January: Established in the Present Truth
- February: God
- March: The Bible
- April: Sin
- May: Jesus
- June: Salvation
- July: Love & Grace
- August: Faith & Obedience
- September: The Church
- October: Worship
- November: Spreading the Word
- December: Judgment to Come