The importance of being reminded - 2 Peter 1:12-21

This is a sermon by Lee McMunn from the morning service on 16th August 2009.

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How do you feel when you are reminded to do something? I guess it all depends on who reminds you and what you are being reminded to do.

There are all sorts of things we can be reminded of and we are happy when we are. Every year my car insurance provider reminds me that it my insurance needs renewed. In certain parts of the country you will receive a text message to remind you that you have a doctor’s appointment. I know it can be irritating when the computer reminds you of what you have just requested and asks if you really want to do it but sometimes this is for our good. For example, if I have just asked it to delete everything on my hard disc and then it asks me if I really want to do this then I am pleased. There are many reminders that we are pleased to receive. However, there are some reminders that can make us irritated. These are the ones that question our competence to do something when you have certainly not forgotten what needs to be done.

You’ve probably already guessed why I’m talking about reminders this morning but just in case you haven’t have look at what we’re told in verses 12 to 15 of 2 Peter chapter 1.

“So I will always remind you of these things, even though you know them and are firmly established in the truth you now have. 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. And I will make every effort to see that after my departure you will always be able to remember these things.”

Last week we saw why Peter thought it was so vital for Christians to change. He told us that we have everything we need to live a godly life. Character transformation is so important if we want to be effective and productive as Christians. And for our personal assurance. The genuine Christian shows their authenticity by showing the fruit of a Christian life.

And so Peter says, “I will always remind you of these things, even though you know them and are firmly established in the truth you now have.”

Why does Peter want to remind them? It’s not because they don’t know what he is writing about. In fact, you must know already if someone reminds you of something. It’s because the topic is so important and because he knows what human beings are like. We are quick to forget and we easily get distracted doing other things.

There is the danger of novelty for Christian ministers and for Christian congregations.

I’m not saying that every sermon has to be a John 3:16 sermon. This would be a terrible misuse of the Bible.

When you come to church you will often here similar truths. Why? Because we need to hear the truth repeated regularly.

We are quick to forget. Don’t have too high an opinion of your spiritual abilities. We need reminding.

Peter says he will always remind them. The question is ‘how?’. How will he always remind them? This could mean no more than he will always do this when he is alive. But look again at what he writes in verses 13 to 15. “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. And I will make every effort to see that after my departure you will always be able to remember these things.”

He knows he is soon to die. He may be referring to what we read in John chapter 21. He is keen that he will still be influential after he is dead. He will make every effort to see that after his departure they will be able to remember these things.

What does this mean? He has certainly written down information already. Reliable church history says that Peter should be linked with Mark’s Gospel.

Why should we listen to what Peter says? Look at what he writes in verse 16. “We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eye-witnesses of his majesty. For he received honour and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, ‘This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.’ We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain.”

Peter has already claimed to be an apostle. Someone chosen to be the authorized spokesman for King Jesus. How can we be sure that he knows what he is talking about? In verse 16 he calls himself an eye-witness and in verse 18 he calls himself an ear-witness. He not only saw what happened to Jesus at the transfiguration, he also heard God the Father speak to him.

Peter was there. These events really happened in human history. They are not cleverly invented stories.

Why does Peter speak here about the transfiguration of Jesus? He is trying to convince his readers about the certainty of Jesus’ future return. So in verse 16 he says that he (and the other apostles did not follow cleverly invented stories when they told these Christians about the power and coming (parousia) of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Parousia was a Greek word which referred to the arrival of a VIP to a city.

False teachers were denying that Jesus was coming back.

To show his readers that Jesus will return powerfully Peter tells us about the transfiguration. He was there as an eye-witness.

How does the transfiguration prove that Jesus will return? He is revealed as a powerful and glorious King. The quotation from Psalm 2. It makes sense therefore to speak of a powerful and glorious return of Jesus.

‘Listen to him’ is missed out. Yes we listen to Jesus but the way we listen to Jesus is by listening to his apostles.

And not simply to the apostles. Did you see who Peter wants us to listen to in verse 19? “And we have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts.”

He is talking about what we call the Old Testament. We can be even more certain that these prophecies about the glorious reign of the Messiah are true because of how the other predictions were fulfilled in the first coming of Jesus. The others will be fulfilled when Jesus returns.

It is good for us to read the OT, see how it is fulfilled in Jesus and look forward to what is still to come.

We are to hold on and read these words until the day arrives and the Morning Star arise sin our hearts. Jesus is called the Morning Star in Revelation 22:16. In the future there will be no doubts about the identity of Jesus.

How could so many prophecies be perfectly fulfilled in the life of Jesus? How could all these different individuals get it so right?

Look at what we’re told in verses 20 and 21. “Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.”

God ensured that what he wanted was written.

What is the Bible? A collection of inspired ideas? It is the Word of God.

Even in liberal churches the Bible is not abandoned. It is still considered in the wider collection. So just because someone speaks from the Bible does not mean they think it carries the final authority.

When we read the Bible – it was inspired by God. We are handling revelation and not opinion. It is here where God reliably addresses his people.

What will you hear? God speaking in different accents.

Keep on going to the Bible. It is what we need to keep on being transformed as Christians.

Let us not relegate what is said to the category of myths and legends. Unimportant and irrelevant.

Have you heard all this before? Maybe but hopefully you won’t mind being reminded.

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