2 Peter 1:12-15

Sermon preached on May 27, 2018 by Laurence W. Veinott. © Copyright 2018. All rights reserved. Other sermons can be found at http://www.cantonnewlife.org/.

Unless otherwise noted, quotations are from The Holy Bible: New International Version (NIV). Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House.

When we were on vacation a few years ago we went to church with Marg's mother. The minister was preaching on one of the New Testament texts about knocking. I think it was Revelation 3:20 which says,

"Here I am!
I stand at the door and knock.
If anyone hears my voice
and opens the door,
I will come in and eat with him,
and he with me."

I noticed that there was a bit of repetition in the sermon but it wasn't until after the service was over that I realized how much. One of Marg's mom's friends was there and after the service she came over to say hello. One of her great granddaughters was with her. She was around 7 or 8 years old and she said of the minister,

"He said, 'I stand at the door and knock' 86 times."

He said it so much that she decided to count. I'm not sure of the exact number but it was in the 80's or 90's.

Repetition has a bad name. We don't like it. I don't think that little girl got anything out of the sermon because the minister repeated himself too many times.

Teachers and ministers can sometimes be justly criticized for too much repetition. But sometimes it's necessary. Not long ago I had a teacher tell me that he makes a point of repeating things in his class. He told me that he does that because, in today's classroom, at any given time, there are some students who are not listening, and so if he doesn't repeat things, there are some students who will miss some important points.

Is our text Peter says that he is not repeating things for that reason. Peter tells us that he reminds them of these things, even though they know them. These are not things that they missed—these are things that they already know. He does that because these things are so important. Peter, inspired by the Holy Spirit, reminds them of these things again.

This shows us

the great importance of what Peter tells us here.

Peter wrote, (verse 12)

"So I will always remind you
of these things,
even though you know them
and are firmly established
in the truth you now have."

Imagine if Peter was here with us for an hour this morning to speak to you. Can you imagine how exciting that would be. But then when Peter starting speaking, he started telling us things we already knew. We might be tempted to interrupt him and say,

"Peter we already know that stuff. Tell us something we don't know. Tell us something new. Tell us something that Jesus did that is not in the gospels."

But then Peter would reply—

"You already know these things, but they're so important that I'm going to remind you of them again."

There are certain things that are so important that they bear repeating.

We all know this. I remember when I we were working to finish the inside of the new part of our building here—installing the sheetrock etc., that more than once I heard the phrase,

"Measure twice, cut once."

That's a phrase worth remembering. You don't want to waste time and material by cutting it wrong.

But with the important things about how we live, there's also a good reason why repetition is important.

Sometimes you can know something but not apply it to your life.

It's like when I was growing up very often when I went out the door, my mother would say,

"Be careful!"

After awhile I knew it was coming. I knew it by heart. But that didn't mean that I applied it to my life like I should have. I remember one day my friend and I decided to go skating on the harbor. It had been a cold winter and to our amazement the harbor had frozen over really smooth—which was unusual so we wanted to take advantage of it. To have miles of great ice to skate upon was quite an experience. While we were skating we decided that it would be fun to skate all the way across the harbor. I knew if I asked my mom she would never let me do that. But it had been really cold and the ice looked great and it was only about a mile across so my friend and I set out. And it didn't seem dangerous—until we got almost to the other side. The problem was that a ship had recently gone through and broken up the ice. You could easily tell the path the ship took. But ice had refrozen where the ship had broken the ice. We really wanted to make it to the other side as there was a nice lighthouse that we wanted to get to. But the question was—was that new ice thick enough to hold us? Or would we fall through? There was the only way for us to find out. Being young and foolish—we tried the ice. We made it. But what a crazy thing to do.

I knew what being careful meant—but I didn't put it to practice that day. The reason my mother kept repeating that was because she knew that as life went on there were new dangers that would pop up. She knew that these new threats were dangers and you might not recognize them as such. So she kept drilling in into me. I needed it much more than I thought I did.

As a Christian, some things you need to keep in mind. You need to constantly remember them. You need to apply them to your life. You need to know them so well that when temptation comes you'll be able to stand on the truth of God's Word and successfully resist the temptation.

We may not like repetition but until we apply these things to our life we need to have them repeated. The fact that Peter reminds them of something they already knew shows how important his teaching was.

What this means for you is that

you should make sure that you are applying the biblical truths that you know to your life.

We all like learning something new. Indeed, part of my job is to bring out new things from the Bible. In Matthew 13:52 Jesus said,

"every teacher of the law
who has been instructed
about the kingdom of heaven
is like the owner of a house
who brings out of his storeroom
new treasures as well as old."

New is hard because there is no new revelation and because mature and knowledgeable Christians already know a lot. One church that Marg and I attended was right across the road from the seminary I attended. Some of the professors from the seminary attended that church. I remember thinking that I wouldn't want to be the pastor of that church. How could you ever teach these theologians anything new? Years later I read a story about a young pastor who was called as the pastor of a church where one of his former seminary professors attended. He was somewhat intimidated and asked his former professor how he could possibly function as pastor of his former professor. After a moment's thought, the professor replied that he, (Resurrection and Eschatology, p. 555)

"needs to hear the word preached!"

If you're a mature Christian you don't need to hear many more new things—what you really need is to apply the Word that you already know to your life. You need to hear the Word over and over again until you put it into practice in your life. You need to hear it over and over again so that when a great temptation comes your way—that Word will be such a part of you that you will use it effectively against that temptation and resist the temptation.

There is a world of difference between knowing what is good and doing it. We need to live the Word. In John 13:17, after Jesus washed the feet of His disciples, He said to them,

"Now that you know these things,
you will be blessed if you do them."

We need to be not only hearers of the Word, but doers.

One of the primary duties of Christian leaders is to remind us of certain old and essential truths. These don't change and they are what Christians need.

One of the characteristics of certain cults is that the higher you progress in their religion, the more money you pay, they will let you in on secrets that others don't know.

But Christianity is not like that—the fundamentals of the faith are the important things. They are to be our focus. Paul said that he preached Christ crucified. Paul knew that was a stumbling block to the Jews and foolishness to the Gentiles—but he didn't change his message to please them. He knew that His message was the power of God to salvation. He treasured the truth because he knew it was the power of God.

These truths are to be ever with us. They never get old. They are always relevant.

The second thing that shows how important Peter's teaching is the fact that

Peter knows that these will be his last words to them.

Peter here is giving important, final words to Christians. In verses 13 and 14 Peter wrote,

"I think it is right to refresh
your memory as long
as I live in the tent of this body,
because I know that
I will soon put it aside,
as our Lord Jesus Christ
has made clear to me."

Not long after my brother Paul died, Mary, Paul's wife asked me if I knew any of Paul's computer passwords. The company Paul worked for was trying to open an Excel file on Paul's work computer and they asked Mary for help. The file was password protected and they couldn't open it. I don't think it was a really important file as they would have asked Paul for the password before he died. But I guess it was one that they wanted to check out and they were trying to find the password for it. But I didn't have

I'm sure if they could go back in time and ask Paul a question before he died it would have been the password to that file. If Paul could have told them only one thing, I'm not sure it would have been the password to that file because before he died he was too interested in telling people about Jesus. Dying words are important.

In the Bible we are given the final words that Moses, Joshua and David spoke to the people of God. Those words are important. Themes such as praise to God, obedience to His Word, the truth of His promises are the content of such speeches.

In the context here Peter is urging Christians to practice certain graces. These are of the utmost importance. As Paul said about love in Galatians 5:14,

"The entire law is
summed up in a single command:
'Love your neighbor as yourself.' "

Next Peter directs our attention to the Word of God and how it certainly is God's Word.

The world today will tell you that the Bible is old-fashioned. They will tell you that's its not relevant any longer. They will tell you that the Bible exhibits the teachings of a misogynist and patriarchal society and we would foolish to follow it. The Bible, as they see it, is not only old-fashioned, irrelevant—but parts of it, are downright evil. People will tell you that if you follow the Bible, you will be a hatful, evil person.

That's not what Peter teaches us. To Peter, God's truth is enduring. You can always depend on it. This is the third thing in our text that shows us how important God's truth is. Peter's word here are vitally important is show by the fact that

Peter wants them to remember them after his death.

He wrote, (verse 15)

"And I will make every effort
to see that after my departure
you will always be able
to remember these things."

Peter is telling us that biblical truths are timeless. They were relevant during his life and they will be relevant after His death.

After Moses finished His final song to the Israelites, he said to them, (Deuteronomy 32:46–47)

"Take to heart all the words
I have solemnly declared
to you this day,
so that you may command
your children to obey carefully
all the words of this law.
They are not just idle words for you—
they are your life.
By them you will live
long in the land you are crossing
the Jordan to possess."

These words are for each succeeding generation, right up to the day when Jesus comes again. They are never irrelevant.

They will be relevant right up to the day that Jesus comes again. We must never let go of these truths because they give life. If we live according to these truths we will never fall, rather we will live so as to reflect God's glory, we will live so as to point people to Jesus, we will live life to the full, we will live forever.

So I ask you? Do you believe Peter's words here? If you don't, you'd better start. They are words that give life. They teach about Jesus, about His work, about how we need to believe in Him for salvation. They are words that give life. If you don't live according to Peter's words you will surely die.

Do you apply God's word to your life? Do you actually put it into practice? James 1:22 says,

"Do not merely listen to the word,
and so deceive yourselves.
Do what it says."

Do you teach these truths to your children and grandchildren, nieces and nephews? Do you seek to pass these precious truth on to the next generation?

Jesus came to save us. He told us to believe in Him. He revealed the Father to us an brought us into His family. He showed us how to be like God. He showed us how to live and to love our enemies.

Christians, these are the most essential and fundamental truths of the universe. Hold on to them. Love to hear them repeated. Incorporate them into your life. Pass them on. They are not idle words—they are your life!