Reformed Baptist Church - Providence Baptist Church

A Persistent Reminder (2 Peter 1:12-15)

By Pastor Bob Boyd

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Introduction A Reminder to a People Established in the Truth A Reminder Intended to Stir Up the Believers An Urgent Reminder A Reminder Meant to Last

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Focus Text: 2 Peter 1:12-15 (ESV)

12 Therefore I intend always to remind you of these qualities, though you know them and are established in the truth that you have.

13 I think it right, as long as I am in this body, to stir you up by way of reminder,

14 since I know that the putting off of my body will be soon, as our Lord Jesus Christ made clear to me.

15 And I will make every effort so that after my departure you may be able at any time to recall these things.

There are many Christians who suffer from spiritual amnesia.

The half brother of our Lord, James, warns us about spiritual amnesia in James 1:22-24.

James 1:22-24 (ESV):

22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.

23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror.

24 For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like.

There are many who forget they were cleansed from their former sins, and their forgetfulness is revealed in the manner in which they live their lives. Their tendency is to go right back to their former way of living.

There is great value for the believer in repetition. Research has shown that within an hour after hearing a spoken message, people will forget up to 90% of it.

Even God repeats Himself to help His people understand and remember. He also commands His people to repeat to themselves and to their children and grandchildren.

Deuteronomy 6:4-9 (ESV):

4 Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.

5 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.

6 And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart.

7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.

8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.

9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

But even with this command, God's people still suffered from spiritual memory loss.

Isaiah 17:10 (ESV):

10 For you have forgotten the God of your salvation and have not remembered the Rock of your refuge...

All the feasts and festivals of the Jewish people were meant to be reminders of God's gracious work and their perpetual response of gratitude. But today, as the descendents of these people still celebrate their feast and festivals, they reject the very God who rescued, delivered, provided for, and blessed them.

Let's be honest, many times we remember things that should be forgotten and forget things that should be remembered.

2 Peter 3:1-2 (ESV):

1 This is now the second letter that I am writing to you, beloved. In both of them I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder,

2 that you should remember the predictions of the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior through your apostles...

John 15:20 (ESV):

20 Remember the word that I said to you...

Christ knows that even in redeemed humanity the mind needs to be constantly renewed, constantly reminded, or it is in danger of spiritual senility and forgetfulness of crucial truths.

2 Peter: 1:12 (ESV):

12 I intend always to remind you of these qualities...

What qualities? Those found above in verses 5-7: virtue, knowledge, self control, steadfastness, godliness, brotherly affection, and love.

So that even after Peter is gone they can remember them. Peter intended to remind these elect exiles over and over again.

The reminder is not limited to the 7 qualities listed previously, or to just the 11 previous verses and the truths contained therein, but certainly Peter would want to remind them of the whole body of truth contained in scripture. His reminder was intended to be "persistent".

There are 4 marks to Peter's persistent reminder:

1. It is a reminder to a people established in the truth

2. It is a reminder intended to stir up the believers

3. It is an urgent reminder

4. It is a reminder meant to last

2 Peter 1:12 (ESV)

12 Therefore I intend always to remind you of these qualities, though you know them and are established in the truth that you have.

The elect exiles whom Peter is writing to already know Christ. They have obtained a faith by the righteousness of Jesus. They already know the One who called them to His glory and excellence. They know they have everything they need for life and godliness. They know they are the recipients of the greatest and most precious promises. They realize they are partakers of the divine nature. The are growing and established in the truth. They possess a true, or fruitful, knowledge of Jesus.

“Established” used in verse 12 is the Greek word sterizo [στηρίζω] and means firmly established or strengthened in. It describes a settled condition. In other words, Peter could see by their lives that the truth they had received was present with them. They were established, perhaps, by his own ministry.

In Luke 22:32, after Peter denies Christ, Jesus tells him to strengthen his brothers.

Luke 22:32 (ESV)

32 "...but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.”

Jesus used the same word for "strengthen" that Peter uses for "established".

You don't remind unestablished people - you instruct them. Reminders aren't for people who don't already know - they are for people who DO already know. Also, God's reminders aren't limited to the first eleven verses of 2nd Peter - the whole Bible is a reminder

Peter says, " already know and are established," but he also knows how quickly the human mind forgets. And it tends to forget the most important truths in life. 2nd Peter 1:9 says they had forgotten that they had been cleansed from their former sins.

Churches today celebrate the Lord's Supper. It's a time to remember the broken body of our Lord and His shed blood for the forgiveness of our sins. So why do we do this? It is so we won't forget! We can't afford to forget these things because they are the heart of our belief in Christ. What He has done for us has made all the difference in our lives - In time and eternity, and without these acts we are doomed to destruction.

Paul, like Peter, knew the necessity of a persistent reminder.

Philippians 3:1 (ESV)

1 Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you is no trouble to me and is safe for you.

It is the role of the Holy Spirit to remind us of the teachings of Christ. Also, there have been no new revelations of God, only fresh insights into old revelations - Only reminders of unalterable truth. The repetition of this timeless and unalterable truth helps to make it stick within our hearts and minds. This would be particularly important for Peter's readers as they faced the false teachers in the coming years.

2 Peter 1:13 (ESV)

13 I think it right, as long as I am in this body, to stir you up by way of reminder...

“Stir up” used in verse 13 is the Greek word diegeiro [διεγείρω] and means to arouse completely; to thoroughly awaken from lethargy, drowsiness, or sleep. Paul wants his reminder to cause them to be spiritually alert. He wants to stir them to think and act in a sober manner. He says this is “right” or fitting.

You remember Peter's epic fail - denying the Lord? He was told he would do it, denied he would do it, but still ended up doing it. And this from a guy who had trained under Jesus for three years! So it is safe to say that Peter knows first hand how important it is for people to be shepherded and reminded in order to protect them from wandering from truth into doctrinal heresy and sin. Christians need to be constantly reminded - to be stirred to think and act rightly.

Does your pastor teach doctrine? Does your pastor take time to talk about the total depravity of man and the sovereignty of God? Does he take extra time to walk you through the Bible to see over and over again the wonder of the doctrine of election? Not to fill you up with information, but to stir you up to know, love, serve, to pray, to rejoice, and to be on guard? To stir you up to live for and celebrate the glory of our Sovereign God? If you answered no, then pray for him, asking the Lord to guide him into these areas.

“He who knows that it is God who has chosen him and not he who has chosen God, and that he owes his entire salvation in all its processes and in every one of its stages to this choice of God, would be an ingrate indeed if he gave not the glory of his salvation solely to the inexplicable elective love of God”

Benjamin Warfield

Pastors teach and remind believers of Christ not so that they can simply have more knowledge, but so that this knowledge would stir them up, sober their minds and motivate their living for the glory of God.

2 Peter 1:14-15 (ESV)

14 ...since I know that the putting off of my body will be soon, as our Lord Jesus Christ made clear to me.

15 And I will make every effort so that after my departure you may be able at any time to recall these things.

In these verses, Peter writes he will die soon - Christ has clearly revealed this to him. He is giving the believers last minute reminders - these are urgent for false teachers are coming and Peter will shortly be gone. When people are on their deathbeds they want to say something important; so even with his impending death, Peter relentlessly reminds believers of the truth.

The Christian life is like an endurance race. When the runners get to the finish line, just before they cross the tape, they give one final push of momentum. They finish with endurance.

Hebrews 12:1 (ESV)

1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us...

2 Timothy 4:6-8 (ESV)

6 For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come.

7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.

8 Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.

How many Christians have we seen who get to their twilight years of service to Christ, in this moment of their lives when they should be pushing the hardest, simply give up and quit before the end?

Though as we age our physical activities may change out of necessity, we never retire from the faith. Peter would never go on another missions trip. He wouldn't start another church. He wouldn't write another letter. But he would run to the finish with all that the had left. He is an old man in prison, knowing that his time on earth is short, but finishing well for the Lord, so that he might faithfully leave something behind for others to follow. He's pushing hard at this point in his life.

Have some of the people who have been most influential in your life been older, faithful saints who determined not to quit before the finish?

Peter is determined to run all the way to his finish line. He can see it now - it's closer than ever before - but He doesn't want his influence to end. He's determined to leave a legacy of faith that will encourage, inspire, and challenge the lives of Christians for time and eternity. The proof that it happened is why we are reading part of his story right now. Yes, it is a story of grace, but it is also one of determination.

In verse 15, Peter says he will "make every effort" to help them recall what he has written to them after his departure. "Make every effort" refers to him as a leader not asking them to do anything that he would not be willing to do himself. It means to work to the point of exhaustion, to give maximum effort. Why would Peter do this? Because he wants to leave a legacy. Not a legacy for himself, but a legacy of remembrance of Christ, His gracious work, and their active response to such grace. He wants to remind them of the qualities that will mark their established faith.

Of all the apostles Peter may be the most memorable. Consider the following examples:

Few in Christian history are more remembered than Peter. However, if Peter were here or could look down he would emphatically say, "No! It's not me I wanted you to remember!" Peter was not interested in people remembering him. Peter was an apostle/ambassador and a slave. A slave's legacy is his master's. A faithful slave wants his master to be known and remembered.

Here, in this letter, Peter is making every effort so that they would remember Christ and His grace and truth. He is making every effort to remind the brethren to live in a manner worthy of Christ. He desires their lives to be a testimony to the transforming power of Christ and the gospel. He reminds them with maximum effort that their changed lives would grant them assurance of their inheritance, their calling and election.

To paraphrase, he is saying, “This is the way you will live worthy of the Lord. This is the way you will have full assurance of your faith. Don't quit, don't give up, keep serving, keep living, keep cultivating Christian graces. Keep praying, loving, growing, studying. Press on, run, run hard, run with endurance all the way to the end.”

2 Peter 1:15 (ESV)

15 And I will make every effort so that after my departure you may be able at any time to recall these things.

Paul spoke of his death as being similar to taking down and folding up of a tent.

2 Corinthians 5:1-2 (ESV)

1 For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.

2 For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling.

He spoke of his death as a departure (one can't arrive unless he departs). What a great way to describe the death of a believer - the putting off of a tent (something that is temporary) to put on something permanent. Departing so he might arrive somewhere else. Though he is just a man on a journey, Peter wants to leave them something permanent. He wants to leave them a reminder so that even after he is gone the truth he has reminded them of will be permanently embedded in their minds and evidenced in their living.

What do you want to leave behind?

At funeral services, we speak of a person's legacy. To be quite frank, most of it is trivial. The best legacies are those that point us to Jesus over and over again, both by their words and their determination to have lived those words for the glory of Christ.

Peter was not interested in a personal legacy. Think about the people in history that we remember. We remember them for their deeds, good or bad. Peter's intention was for us to remember Jesus, and the ultimate deed when He gave His life so we would lose ours to gain a brand new one in Him. And that we would remember to live in the reality of that new life, with the assurance of one day folding up our tents and entering into eternity with our Lord.

We must not forget.

What a model for the Christian minister to follow, and what a message for us all to heed.

Listen carefully...if you hear an old truth, it may not be eloquent or polished, it may be filled with trite statements or cliches, but if you hear an old truth, rejoice and be reminded that the old truth is the only truth and rejoice.

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