Grace Bible Church
Remembering What You Know – 2 Peter 1:12-15
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Pastor Scott L. Harris
Grace Bible Church, NY
September 6, 2009
“Remembering What You Know”
2 Peter 1:12-15
Have you ever noticed that items that were once considered “convenience” items are now considered almost a necessity. Start with the various appliances in your kitchen. In fact, lets start before that with the shower you took this morning. Pretty nice to turn a knob and have hot and cold running water, yet it was not really all that long ago that the majority of people in rural America were still “fetching” their water from a well or a stream, or if they were real modern, they had a hand pump in the kitchen. Water had to be heated on a wood, coal or oil burning stove. Just getting hot water was a lot of work. That point was driven home by the pictures we saw a couple of weeks ago of the missions trip David Harris and Jane Scaramuzzo went on, for they revealed the primitive living conditions in Mozambique. They had to go to the river each day to get water, and it was only because they had brought portable generators and rigged up a wood fired heating system that they were able have hot water for showers and cleaning. We consider piped in hot water a necessity, but it is really only a convenience.
Consider some of the other gadgets in your kitchen. Toasters, blenders, juicers, food processors, electric knives, slow cookers, fast cookers and in-between cookers. Are all those things necessary or conveniences? How many here can remember how to open a can without an electric can opener? Many of you could not imagine having to do dishes without a dishwasher. Anyone present boil their coffee in a pot on the stove this morning? You would be hard pressed to find someone that does not use some kind of electric coffee maker to make fresh coffee. Some even have drip coffee makers that are preset the night before so that your coffee is freshly brewed and waiting for you when you get out of bed. (Some of you men might not think that as any big deal since your wife has been doing that automatically for years and she includes the rest of breakfast too).
The machines in the kitchen are just the beginning: Throughout the house you have all sorts of gadgetry including digital alarm clocks, phones, hair dryers, curling irons, electric razors, electric irons, computers, television (home entertainment centers), DVD players, video recorders, CDs, Radio -and not just radio, but digital quartz satellite quadrophonic/stereophonic and if you don’t have it you must be moronic Radio.
From the simple to the complex, we have grown so accustomed to all of these various convenience items, that they are considered necessary, not just convenience. I admit, it sure is a lot easier and faster to jump in your car and come to church in a controlled temperature than walking, riding a bike, or hitching up the horse to come in an open carriage. But a lot of people seem completely stranded if their car is not working. Computerization has radically changed society so much since the 1980’s that we believe they are essential for life to exist. If you don’t think we are dependent on them, watch the reaction of people when they go up to an ATM machine and find out it is out of order, or to a business office when the computer goes down, or the frustration of the younger generation when they lose internet access. Some modern homemakers are at a loss of how to heat up their frozen dinner when their microwave goes on the blink.
Why such frustration and even anger when a supposed “convenience” item fails us? Because the function of the broken machine has been taken for granted and so it is considered essential to daily life. It is only when the machine breaks that we even consider the importance of what it does for us, and that is often with frustration and anger because it will not fulfill its function at the moment. Most of the time we never even give these many items, gadgets and machines a second thought. We expect them to work and accept them as common to daily life.
Related to this is the fact that we usually only appreciate these gadgets and machines when they are new or we first get them. Some years ago a friend of mine who is a carpenter was very excited over a new tool he had purchased. He was raving about what a wonderful invention it was because it was saving him not only time and human energy, but it was also able to do a better job than he could by hand. The pneumatic nail gun changed carpentry, the same way the electric circular saw did years before, and new inventions will do in the future. They all eventually become the common and normal way of doing things and so are taken for granted with their true value forgotten.
Losing Your First Love
The unfortunate thing about all of this is that this is often true of Christianity as well. We come to Christ and every thing is new, fresh and exciting. We understand clearly what we have been saved from because we have just come out from it. We marvel at this new relationship with Christ. Wow! I can talk to the creator of the universe & He is interested in you me personally! I love to read my Bible, but some of these names are kind of hard to pronounce. The things that happen at church are exciting as well. The pastor and Sunday School teachers speak with such wisdom. The people seem so friendly and thoughtful. The concept that you can actually serve God by doing various ministries is also exciting, and missionary stories are thrilling. You just want to know what you can do to help.
As time goes on Bible reading becomes easier and you can even pronounce the names because you have heard that story before, even several times. Prayer is still important to you recognizing that “prayer changes things” and “the church only goes forward on its knees,” but it is hard to find time to pray because you are so busy. The pastor and Sunday School teachers are good men, and there are some good teachers in the women’s group too, but there is a growing sense you are just not getting fed the way you were in the past. You also notice the people do not pay as much attention to you as they used to and the church is not as friendly as you remember. You evaluate the worship services with all sorts of ideas of what could be done and current practices that you would like to end because you are just not stirred up by them any more. Serving God is a fine idea and though you have been a Christian for quite a while and have a good basic understanding of the Bible, you have too many other things going on to be able to teach a children’s class or help out in that particular ministry. You still like it when missionaries come during a morning service and tell about what they are doing, but you no longer attend special meetings with missionaries or keep up with their newsletters.
For too many Christians, as the years go by from the point of conversion, the vibrancy of the Christian life begins to dull. Living for Christ is no longer fresh and exciting. Those things which at one time stirred you up so much are just one of the many things you just expect to happen now. Perhaps that description fits your life at present.
Do you still look forward to spending time alone with God in prayer and personal study of His word? Do you still take great joy in getting together with God’s people and sharing with one another what God is doing in your lives? Does your heart still beat a little faster from the excitement of being able to share the gospel with someone? (or does your heart beat a little faster from fear that someone will find out that you are a Christian?) Do you find yourself becoming less joyful and more critical?
This was part of the problem that developed in the Ephesian church and why Jesus wrote to them through the Apostle John in Revelation 2 saying, “To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: The One who holds the seven stars in His right hand, the One who walks among the seven golden lampstands, says this: 2 ‘I know your deeds and your toil and perseverance, and that you cannot endure evil men, and you put to the test those who call themselves apostles, and they are not, and you found them [to be] false; 3 and you have perseverance and have endured for My name’s sake, and have not grown weary. 4 ‘But I have [this] against you, that you have left your first love. 5 ‘Remember therefore from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first; or else I am coming to you, and will remove your lampstand out of its place– unless you repent. 6 ‘Yet this you do have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. 7 ‘He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the Paradise of God.’”
The Ephesians had the correct doctrine and were doing a lot of the right things, but their love for Christ had faded. They had become so familiar with the routine of living a religious Christian life that
their love for Christ had diminished. They were complacent in about everything except the fine points of doctrine. This passage also tells us that the solution to this problem is to REMEMBER, REPENT and RE-DO the first deeds.
Will the solution work? Yes! Scripture says it will! In fact, the principle even works on the human relationship level. Many of you have been married for many years and you know that it takes work to keep your relationship alive and vital. It is easy to take your spouse for granted, and when that happens, the relationship can become strained. The joy and thankfulness start to fade. You wake up some mornings and look next to you and wonder, “How did I ever end up with her/him?”
How do you get your relationship back to where it belongs? By remembering, repenting and re-doing. Remember all the reasons you married that guy/gal in the first place. Remember all the wonderful things they have done for you. Repent of your complacency, your failure to fulfill your Biblical role and all the rotten things you have done to them. Then Re-do the things that made you fall in love. Court each other again, which amazing enough is about the only time a lot of couples ever even practiced something akin to true selfless love.
The Need to Be Reminded
We find this same principle of remembering in 2 Peter 1: 12-15. “Therefore, I shall always be ready to remind you of these things, even though you [already] know [them], and have been established in the truth which is present with [you.] 13 And I consider it right, as long as I am in this [earthly] dwelling, to stir you up by way of reminder, 14 knowing that the laying aside of my [earthly] dwelling is imminent, as also our Lord Jesus Christ has made clear to me. 15 And I will also be diligent that at any time after my departure you may be able to call these things to mind.”
Context: Peter is writing this letter near the end of his life. In verse 14 he said “that the laying aside of my [earthly] dwelling is imminent, as also our Lord Jesus Christ has made clear to me.” After His resurrection while He was meeting with the disciples by the sea of Galilee, Jesus told Peter that Peter would not see death until he was old (John 21:18). Peter was now old and from Peter’s comments here it is apparent that Jesus had made it clear to him that death would soon come. That makes Peter’s writing even more significant because this would be his last opportunity to instruct them. In such situations people do not dwell on trivial matters. They deal with what is important. So what crucial issues and truths does Peter speak about before his departure from this life? Peter does not give them anything novel. He does not reveal to them any astounding new truths. He does not share with them any secret to living the Christian life or develop any new doctrine. Peter simple reminds them of what they already know. He wants them to continue in the truths in which they were already established and that his letter to them would be a means to continually remind them to remain in those truths long after he had died.
Peter will emphasize this point again several paragraphs later in 2 Peter 3:1-2. “This is now, beloved, the second letter I am writing to you in which I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder, 2 that you should remember the words spoken beforehand by the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior [spoken] by your apostles.”
The importance of Reminders: Now some might react to this wondering why Peter would only remind them of what they already knew. We can imagine that most of them were already trying to do the things they already knew and perhaps were struggling enough with that. They would want something more that they had not been told yet that could perhaps make it more convenient or at least a little easier. We can imagine that because we think the same way. We don’t want to be reminded about old lessons that we struggle with. We want to be told something new that can make us successful without having to master the old lessons.
Here we find that Peter is adamant about the importance of going back to what they already know. Verse 12 – “Therefore, I shall always be ready to remind you of these things . . .” Verse 13 – “And I consider it right . . .” Verse 15 – “And I will also be diligent . . .” Peter is going to be “Always ready.” He considers it the “right” thing to do. He is going to be “diligent” about it. He is going to work hard at making sure they remember. Why?
There is only one way to move people back into a strong relationship with the Lord and motivate them again to serve the living God with a joyful heart. You must go back to the foundations of salvation and living the Christian life. You must return to the fundamentals.
Back to Basics: Notice the “therefore” in verse 12. Why is it there and what is its significance? The “therefore” points us back to the reasons that Peter is so concerned about reminding them (and us) of what they should already know. It points back to what he had just said in verses 10 & 11 “therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble; for in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you.” Peter wants those who have received a faith of the same kind as his (verse 1) to be sure that they are among those that are part of “the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” He wants them to have an assurance they are saved and will be going to heaven by reminding them of the things he has just mentioned. (See: Assurance of Salvation – 2 Peter 1:10-11)
What specific “things” (vs. 12) is Peter talking. Having the power to live life in a Godly manner (vs. 3). Partaking of the divine nature (vs. 4). Escaping the lusts of this world (vs. 4). Living according to the fruit of the Spirit which makes you useful in the Lord’s service (vs. 5-8), and not forgetting your purification from your former sins (vs. 9). (See: Steps to Maturity – 2 Peter 1:5-9)
What is the nature of these things? Notice in verse 12 that these are things that you “already know.” The word here is eidotaV / eidotas, the perfect active participle from oida / oida meaning “to know mentally,” as opposed to ginwskw// / ginosko which means to “to know by experience.” This means that these are things that you have already been taught and know they are true even if you have not yet grown enough spiritually to have personally experienced them for yourself. In addition, Verse 12 says that “you have been established in the truth which is present with you” (NAS) or could also be translated “you have already been and are currently (perfect tense) strengthened, made firm, confirmed in your mind in these truths which are present with you” (Author’s translation from Greek).
Again, Peter is not trying to bring up anything new. There is already enough revealed to live the way God wants us to live, and it is those truths that Peter wants to remind his readers about. People want new revelation or some hidden secret exposed because they want to find an easier way to live in a manner they consider to be righteous. They do not want to make the diligent effort that Peter said it would take (2 Peter 1:5). There are many “Christian” religions that try to accomplish this. They claim to have a secret that makes it easier to live the Christian life. Some do this by coming up with their own list of do’s and don’ts, but any standard other than God’s is not true righteousness. These folks end up in either legalism or licentiousness depending on their particular list of standards. Others strive to make it easier by claiming to continually be receive new revelation so that they know exactly what God wants. This could be through someone claiming to be a prophet or have a word of wisdom or word of knowledge, or simply by how they personally feel about things. All of these remove the struggle with figuring out the principles and precepts of the Lord and how to apply them in the situations being faced while trusting the Lord to lead their steps even as they plan out their path by faith.
Motives: Peter considers reminding them of what they already know the “right” or the proper thing to do (vs 13). Why? Because the goal of any servant of the Lord is to motivate God’s people to live according to God’s direction, and that is exactly Peter’s goal in going back to these basic truths. He want to “stir them up by reminding them.” He wants to bring back into the forefront of their minds the foundational truths of what God has done. The idea of “stirring up” is to “arouse” or “wake up” someone from their sleep. Peter desires to arouse the mind of his readers so that they are active.
We have already touched on verse 14 earlier, but Peter’s motivation in writing his letters is because he knows that his time on earth is short and before he goes he wants to make sure the people he has been ministering too and those who will follow will be able to continue in the faith after he is gone. Peter makes this clear in verse 15 saying his “diligence” in this is so that “after my departure you may be able to call these things to mind.” He does not want them to forget so he his is going to work hard to make sure that they clearly understand them and will remember them. This is the last fervent effort of a man who knows he is about to die. His valiant effort is that they not forget these things for they are extremely important!
Personally, my goal is the same. You will never hear new doctrine from me. It will only be that which was once for all delivered to the Saints. And if you ever think you hear me giving some kind of new doctrine, then call me on it and together we will examine the Scriptures to see what they teach. Our joint goal is making sure we follow God according to His word and not fall victim to the winds of doctrine that man creates for himself.
Fundamentals of the Christian Life
In the past few weeks we have already been going back to what we already know, or at least what we should already know. Here is what Peter has already reminded those who have a faith like his in the first eleven verses of chapter 1
*Peter is a slave and an apostle of Jesus Christ.
*Faith is something received by the righteousness of Christ.
*Jesus Christ is both God and savior.
*Jesus is our Lord in the sense of master
*God, by His divine the power, has already granted us everything we need to live the Christian life in godliness. This comes through a close, intimate, experiential knowledge of God.
*God has given us His precious and magnificent promises by which we become like Christ in character and escape the corruption that is in the world by its lusts. I expanded on this listing out some of God’s promises including: •salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ, •the security of the believer, •Jesus’ continued presence, •being changed from corruptible to incorruptible, •confidence in God in all circumstances, •peace through prayer in all circumstances, •God’s provision for life’s necessities as we seek His kingdom and righteousness first, •a way to overcome temptation, •our prayers are heard and answered if they are according to God’s will, •Jesus will return and take us to heaven – where He is currently preparing a place for us.
*We are to be diligent to add the marks of Christian maturity – faith, moral excellence, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness and love.
*We can have assurance of salvation and being useful and fruitful for Christ.
There are still quite a few fundamentals that Peter will remind his readers about in the rest of this book and which we will be examining in the months ahead. These include:
*The origin of the Bible
*The proper interpretation of Scripture
*The danger of false teachers, their identification & destruction
*The defense against false teachers.
*The thinking of mockers
*God’s judgment in the past – The Genesis Flood
*God’s patience & the call to repentance
*The day of the Lord & God’s judgment to come
*The promise of heaven
*Motivation to live in righteousness and being on guard
As I pointed out two weeks ago, God has done his part, but we also need to do our part. By His divine power God has already granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness and He has given us His precious and magnificent promises. We must purse the knowledge of Him that only comes by experience as you walk with Him. We also must be diligent to add to our faith the seven moral qualities Peter lists in verses 5-7, which if we are practicing will keep us from stumbling and be one of the assurances that God has called and chosen us. Peter has also been diligent to remind us of foundational truths and stir us up by them that we might live properly for God. But we must also do our part. If you do not know these fundamental truths, then you need to learn them. If you do know them, then you need to remember them and apply them to your life. These purposes, to learn and be reminded to that you can apply Biblical truth to your life and walk in righteousness with God, is the reason for all our Christian education efforts including Sermons, Sunday School classes for all ages, home Bible studies, individual discipleship, children’s groups, ladies groups, men’s groups, Bible survey classes, theology classes, etc.
Do not take what God has done for you for granted. Do not forget His precious and magnificent promises. Do not neglect the power of God available to you to live in godliness. Do not allow yourself to become apathetic or even complacent Do not let the other things of life crowd out that which is most important. You must be diligent recall the truths of Scripture to mind and then live accordingly.
“Oh give thanks to the Lord, call upon His name; Make known His deeds among the peoples. 2 Sing to Him, sing praises to Him; Speak of all His wonders. 3 Glory in His holy name; Let the heart of those who seek the Lord be glad. 4 Seek the Lord and His strength; Seek His face continually. 5 Remember His wonders which He has done, His marvels, and the judgments uttered by His mouth
Parents, you are responsible to apply God’s Word to your children’s lives. Here is some help. Young Children – draw a picture about something you hear during the sermon. Explain your picture(s) to your parents at lunch. Older Children – 1) Write down all the verses mentioned. 2) Talk with your parents about the importance of remembering and applying what the Bible says in your own life.
THINK ABOUT IT!
Questions to consider in discussing the sermon with others. What machines have you used today that you would consider necessary? What would life be like if you did not have the many kitchen gadgets you use on a regular basis? How much do you value your electric tools and communication devices? What would life be like if you had to live without electricity? What was your attitude living for Christ when you were first saved? If you have been saved for two years or more, describe what changes have taken place in your attitude about living for Christ? What is the reason for those changes? Why did the Lord rebuke the church at Ephesus in Revelation 2? What was the solution to their problem? How can the principle of that solution be applied to your own life? What was Peter expecting to happen to him in the near future? Why did he have that expectation? How does this fact effect the urgency in what he is writing? Why is Peter content in reminding them about things they had already learned instead of giving them some new doctrine or revelation? Why is he so adamant about doing this? To what does the “therefore” in verse 12 refer back? What are the specific “things” Peter is talking about in verse 12. What type of knowledge does he refer to in verse 12? Why do people prefer to learn something new than be reminded of something old? Is that true for you? What are some of the ways in which various “Christian” groups try to remove the struggle to figure out and live by the principles and precepts of God’s word? What was Peter’s motive in reminding them of these things? What are some of the things Peter had already reminded them about in previous section of chapter 1. Scan through the rest of 2 Peter and list out some of the things was going to remind them about. God has already done His part, are you being diligent to do your part? Do you take what God has done for you for granted? If so, what must you do to change that?
Remembering What You Know – 2 Peter 1:12-15
Are your kitchen appliances ___________________ or conveniences?
Anything we become accustomed to using and take for granted can quickly become ” ______________.”
We often only appreciate things when they are first invented or when they are _________ to us.
Losing Your First Love
A ________________ is excited about Christ and everything associated with Him
As the years progress, too many Christians lose the ________________ of their walk of faith.
The Lord’s correction of the ____________________ church – Revelation 2:1-7
The solution to losing your first love is: _____________, Repent and Re-do
The Need to Be Reminded
Context – Peter is writing near the __________ of His life.
He does not give them anything ____________, reveal a hidden secret, or teach a new doctrine.
Peter _____________ them of what they already know – 2 Peter 3:1-2.
The importance of Reminders
Most people prefer to learn something __________ than hear old lessons they struggle with
Peter is adamant about the ___________________ of reminding them of what they already knew
There must be a _______to the fundamentals to move people back into a strong relationship with the Lord
Back to Basics – The “therefore” points back to what Peter said in verses _______________
The specific “____________” are what he mentioned in verses 3, 4, 5-8 and 9.
The nature of “these things” is that they knew about them __________, but not necessarily experientially.
People want new revelation because they desire an ____________ way to live righteously
Some groups replace God’s ______________ with their own resulting in either legalism or licentiousness
Some groups claim to receive new _______________- through someone else or just how they feel.
These try to replace the ________of living by the principles & precepts of the Lord with something easier
Motives: Peter’s desire was to _________them up to be active in walking with the Lord in righteousness
Peter knew he would soon die & was being _________so that they would remember these things after that
Fundamentals of the Christian Life
Peter has already reminded them in verses 1-11 of several fundamental truths including:
Peter is a ___________and an apostle of Jesus Christ
_____________ is something received by the righteousness of Christ
Jesus Christ is both __________ & savior and our Lord (in the sense of master)
By His divine the power, God has already granted us ______________we need to live the Christian life
God has given us His precious and magnificent ___________by which we become like Christ in character
We are to be diligent to add the marks of Christian _____________________
We can have ________________ of salvation and being useful and fruitful for Christ
God has already done His part, ______________________________________________________
Peter has been diligent to remind us of Biblical truth, we must _________________and live accordingly
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