Truth That Will Last

Bible Book: 2 Peter  1 : 12-15
Subject: Truth; Remembering; Memory; Steadfastness

Psychologists tell us that man never really forgets anything, that all he has learned is stored away somewhere in his mind. The problem, however, seems to be in the recalling process, in being able to reproduce any one of those millions of accumulated impressions at a given instant. Three times in verses 12-15 of the first chapter of 2 Peter, he uses the word "remembrance." He is convinced that there are some things that must never be lost in the storehouse of our minds, but must be kept foremost in our thinking. These things, which Peter has so ardently stressed in the opening verses of the Epistle, are essentials that must be considered and reconsidered many times if the child of God is to grow and abound in grace and power.

The Christian life is to proclaim the truth that the Christian knows. Peter states that during his life, he has sought to confirm the brethren in the great truths he had come to know. Some people are always looking for some new truth.Ecclesiastes 1:9, "there is nothing new under the sun."Adrian Rogers said, "If it is new, it is not true; and if it is true, it is not new." Four words describe truth that will last:

I. Reminding 12

2 Peter 1:12, "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. "This involves more than imparting new truth; it demands constant reminding of the old. There is a tendency on the part of those who would teach and preach the Word of God to endeavor to keep presenting new truth. Listeners often clamor for something unusual or sensational.

Peter's Statement - The re-emphasis of old truth must not be neglected. We must give repeated consideration to the fundamental truths of the "precious faith" which we have received in Christ.

"For this reason"(wherefore) - links this section with everything that Peter has said so far, especially the sure calling and election of the believer, which form the basis for his life of witness. Peter's goal in life was "not to be negligent" in presenting the truth, but to use every opportunity to instruct others in the faith.

Great Truth: In Peter we see a great example of restoration. He who is now so concerned about diligence had once denied the Lord. During the night when Jesus was arrested, Peter three times denied that he knew Him. Perhaps this is one reason for Peter's determination to never again deny his Lord. His goal was to put the brethren "in remembrance of these things" and to remind them of the themes of the Christian life.

Example: This is the main reason we host the New Members Class. To teach the basics, to remind you of "these things. "Many Christians are ignorant of these teachings and thus do not live by them. The New Members Class -Deals with Salvation - answers the questions: What does it mean to be a Christian? Why am I here? Why aren't most people really happy? What's the problem? What's the solution? What does God want me to do? Deals with our Obedience - the two biblical ordinances we observe: baptism by immersion, and the Lord's Supper. It answers the questions: Why should I be baptized? What is the meaning of baptism? Why be baptized by immersion? Who should be baptized? Can children be baptized? When should I be baptized? Can my family be baptized together? Also, what is the Lord's Supper? Who should take the Lord's Supper? How do I prepare myself for the Lord's Supper? Deals with our Structure - a biblical perspective of the church: fellowship, family, body, and a flock. Deals with Developing Disciples - answers the question: What is a disciple? Discusses four habits of a disciple: time in God's Word, prayer, tithing, and fellowship. Deals with Developing a Disciple's Heart - the purpose of ministry, the priority of ministry, and the process of ministry; a reproducing process. Discusses motivational gifts, abilities and accomplishments, desires, and expectations. Includes a Spiritual Gifts inventory and a complete-at- home guide for each of these four factors. Deals with Pursuing a Passion for the Lost - leads to  truths about sharing their faith.

Fact: Peter was not writing to immature believers, but to people who were "established in the present truth". An important part of the preacher/teacher responsibility is not simply that of telling his flock  new things, but also that of reminding them of the old.

Important Statement: "though you know" - even though firmly grounded in it, this is no indication that we cannot stumble and fall into error. Galatian Christians' Error: Galatians 3:1, "O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed among you as crucified?" Here were men and women who were transformed by the power of God, but they soon drifted into error. Why? Doubtless, they failed to emphasize and re- emphasize the fundamentals of the faith and the essential graces for growth that all believers need  to hear repeatedly.

Peter's Conviction: This is one reason why I believe it is so very important for God's people to be regular and punctual in their attendance at church. Hebrews 10:25,"not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching."Peter was passionate about his teachings. Why? Luke 22:32 Jesus told him when he was converted, "strengthen the brethren." Peter knew he had a special ministry to fulfill.

Again, Peter wished to impress his readers' minds with the Word of God so that they would never forget it. Note: 2 Peter 1:9, "forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins. "Truth always needs repetition because believers forget so easily. Romans 15:15, "Nevertheless, brethren, I have written more boldly to you on some points, as reminding you, because of the grace given to me by God. "Philippians 3:1, "Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. For me to write the same things to you is not tedious, but for you it is safe." 1 John 2:21, "I have not written to you because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and that no lie is of the truth. "Granted that the believers have the truth of God now, they readily forget and need someone to refresh their memories.

These Peter writes to are firmly established in the truth, but all the same Peter is eager to make them stronger. The Holy Spirit was given to the church to remind believers of lessons already learned. John 14:26, "But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you."

II. Stirring 13

"stir you up" - to awaken, arouse, to stimulate; to wake up out of sleep. Actually what Peter desired was to get believers burning for God with a holy zeal and a concern for truth. This same word is used to describe a storm on the Sea of Galilee. Peter knew that our minds have a tendency to get accustomed to truth, and then to take it for granted. We forget what we ought to remember, and we remember what we ought to forget.

A group of young ministers once asked John Wesley how to get big crowds like he had. Mr. Wesley told them, "Young men, get on fire for Jesus Christ and your congregation will come to see you burn."Jeremiah 23:29, "Is not My word like as a fire?" Jeremiah 20:9, "His word was in mine heart as a burning fire."Galatians 4:18, "It is good to be zealous in a good thing always."Peter says, "I think it is right"; Peter considers this his solemn duty."As long as I am in this tent" - Peter feels the nearness of death and the urgency upon him."tent" - tabernacle 2 Corinthians 5:4, "For we who are in this tent groan, being burdened, not because we want to be unclothed, but further clothed, that mortality may be swallowed up by life.

"This was a favorite picture with the early Christian writers. The picture comes from the journeying of the patriarchs in the Old Testament. They had no abiding residence but lived in tents because they were on the way to the Promised Land. The Christian knows well that his life in this world is not a permanent residence but a journey towards the world beyond.Calvin said, "We are also taught by the example of Peter, that the shorter term of life remains to us, the more diligent ought we to be in executing our office."Peter, as long as he is physically capable, devotes his time to stirring up the memories of the believers; refreshing.

Summazation Of verses 13-14. The preacher and teacher should be an intense student of the Word of God, bringing to his hearers fresh, new truth with the dew of heaven upon it. But there is a place for the repetition of the old truths, which the saints know well. Much of it has not yet been put into practice, and the fact that it is repeated gives the Holy Spirit an opportunity to make it experiential in the life of the believer.

III. Knowing 15

Peter writes as a dying man to dying men. Peter was likely in his seventies as he wrote this letter (likely from a Roman prison) and anticipated dying soon. Nero's persecution had begun and he was martyred in it. Tradition says he was crucified upside down, refusing to be crucified like his Lord.

John 21:18-19, "Most assuredly, I say to you, when you were younger, you girded yourself and walked where you wished; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish." This He spoke, signifying by what death he would glorify God.    And when He had spoken this, He said to him, "Follow Me."Jesus had prophesied the death Peter would die 40 years earlier. Though Peter faces death, and even tragic martyrdom, there is no trace of despondency in what he has to say. Peter evidences no fear of the future. With dauntless courage he presses on, doing the work of the Lord. He has in mind the spiritual welfare of those to whom he is writing. No Fear -not on his tee-shirt, but on his soul.

IV. Passing 15

Peter wanted to make certain that after he died, God's people would have a permanent reminder of the truth, thus he penned this inspired letter."to ensure" - endeavor; to lend every effort, to do one's best. Same word for "diligence" in v.5 and v.10. It means to hasten to do something, to be zealous in doing it. Peter knew that he would soon die, so he wanted to take care of his spiritual responsibilities before it was too late.

Peter's love and concern for these spiritual children goes beyond his earthly life. We should concern ourselves with the future of those behind us. In v.15 Peter uses the future tense and not the present. Some scholars believe and interpret Peter's declaration to mean that together with Mark he wrote the Gospel of Mark (1 Peter 5:13). Christian writers in the first and second century testify to the fact that Mark composed his gospel with the help of Peter. It is believed that Mark handed down to us in writing the things which Peter preached. Mark was the accurate interpreter -organizer of Peter's reminiscences of Jesus Christ. Mark may have traveled with Peter during the last years of his life, and during this period Peter taught him about the Lord. Peter was preparing Mark to write a         biography of the Lord Jesus. With all this in mind, it may well be that the reference here means that Peter's teaching was made still available to his people in Mark's Gospel after Peter's death.

In any event, the pastor's aim was to bring to his people God's truth while he was still alive and to take steps to keep it in their memories after he was dead. He wrote, not to preserve his own name, but the name of Jesus Christ.