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Wednesday in the Word

Second Baptist Church

June 5, 2013

2 Peter 1:12-21

  1. Verses 12-15. Peter sees his death coming soon, and he recognizes that this is his last chance to help his fellow believers. In these verses, as he describes his own motivation, he gives us a key element of the job description for every believer. We can call this the 3Rs of ministry!

    1. Remind others of the truth, even though they already know it. Peter informs the church of his intention to “always stand ready to remind you about these things.” Peter is referring to the things of which he wrote in the previous verses, namely, the need to diligently build a life of Christian virtue upon the foundation of our Christian faith (verses 5-7). Peter acknowledges the fact that these Christian people possessed the truth. Nevertheless, Peter states that it is his purpose to “remind the church of these things”. Far from apologizing for being repetitive or redundant, Peter views it as his duty to ever remind the church of the importance of leading a godly life.

    2. Refresh (literally “wake up” or “stir up”) – Peter reveals that his ultimate purpose is “to stir you up”, (to inspire the church’s zeal and devotion to Christ) and he intends to accomplish this by “reminding you of these things” (namely, our calling to develop and to lead a godly life). We need to consistently, even constantly, be aroused to our Christian duties and exhorted to keep our eyes upon Christ, because we encounter so many distractions.

    3. Remember – work hard to make sure we all remember God’s Word. Peter considered this the best use of his last few hours on earth. He had already done so much, yet he wanted to be diligent to do more. Peter was urgent to make every effort to stir up the Christian to love his Savior and live for Him, because Peter knew that the time of his departure out of this earthly life was drawing near. Spiritual fathers in the faith may here learn a lesson from Peter: use your remaining time to arouse the younger generation for Christ-by prayer, by example, by exhortation, by testimony that what truly matters is the spiritual life. Peter’s concern is that these Christian people be established in the faith and continue in the faith even after he has departed this life and entered into glory.

  2. Verses 16-18. Peter, and the other Apostles, did not base their words to us on mythology, fable or fiction. The NT is not the product of the clever human imagination. Rather it is the testimony of eyewitnesses. The Apostle Peter assures us that he and the rest of the apostles were eyewitnesses of Christ’s majesty. In contrast to the Greek and Roman religions, the apostles were not handing down fables and myths when they preached about the glory of Jesus. On the contrary, they personally witnessed His transfiguration and heard the voice of God when they were with Christ on the holy mountain (note Matthew 17:1-8). That historical event of Christ’s transfiguration, personally witnessed by the apostles Peter, James, and John, was a preview of Christ’s final coming in glory at the end of the age. The apostles had no selfish motive for making this claim. They gained no wealth, security or power through their claims. They lived in poverty, they were persecuted by the Jews and the Romans, and they paid for their testimony with their lives. Peter is about to be executed by Nero for his refusal to recant on what he witnessed (“martyr” comes from matrurion, which means “testimony”).

  3. Verses 19-21. Beside the eyewitness account of the transfiguration by the apostles, we also possess the prophetic word that is “absolutely reliable”. The “prophetic word” is a reference to the Scriptures, and we learn that they are absolutely reliable because they are given by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit-the Greek text literally states, “being carried by the Holy Spirit, men spoke from God.” The “prophetic word” refers to the predictions of the Old Testament prophets concerning the Messiah. Peter is saying that the apostles’ testimony confirms and fulfills the predictions of the Old Testament prophets. The scriptures made many specific predictions about God’s plan of salvation which centers on his Messiah: his lineage, his birth-place, the time of his coming, his unique miracles, and the manner and reason for his death. The apostles are careful to record Jesus’ perfect fulfillment of these predictions. Therefore, the apostles’ message is doubly trustworthy. Not only were they eye-witnesses of Jesus’ deeds and words; their testimony agrees with and fulfills the predictions of the Old Testament prophets. Therefore, we are exhorted by Peter to pay close attention to the Scriptures and hold onto them; we are to hold onto the Scriptures as one holds onto a shining lamp in a dark place. Peter reminds us that we need this “lamp” because we live in a “dark place” (1:19-a place characterized not by truth about God, but rather by spiritual ignorance and error. We need an external light because we do not have it within ourselves. This world is dark also because there are people and spirits who deliberately spread falsehood for their own wicked motives. This is why Peter goes on in 2:1 to warn about “false prophets,” “false teachers,” and “destructive heresies.” Peter ends this by stating to “pay attention.” A shipping term for warning to find safe harbor.

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