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Showing posts from January, 2024

2 Peter 1:18: We Ourselves Heard This Very Voice Borne From Heaven, For We Were With Him On The Holy Mountain.

2 Peter 1:18 [18] We ourselves heard this very voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain. (ESV) The Apostle Peter wrote these words to those who had been infiltrated with false teaching. One of the things that false teachers in every age will attack is the deity of Jesus Christ. In previous verses Peter has said that the apostles were not following cleverly crafted myths. Rather, they were eyewitnesses of the glorious Christ Jesus. Peter had a wealth of memories of following the Lord Jesus Christ. He saw miracle after miracle. The Apostle John wrote that if all the books were written of all that Jesus did while on earth, the world could not hold them. John, James, and Peter were the ones who heard the voice from heaven, when they were with Jesus on the holy mountain. Can you imagine hearing the voice of God speaking audibly? I cannot. To be sure, there are false teachers today who claim that we can hear the audible voice of God. The danger of this is that if we

2 Peter 1:17: For When He Received Honor And Glory From God The Father, And The Voice Was Borne To Him By The Majestic Glory

2 Peter 1:17 [17] For when he received honor and glory from God the Father, and the voice was borne to him by the Majestic Glory, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased,” (ESV) In the previous verse Peter made clear that when he speaks of Jesus Christ, he is not speaking of myths and stories. Rather, he was an eyewitness of the Son of God. In this verse he is referring to the event that we call the transfiguration. Jesus gave three of his disciples (Peter, James, and John), an opportunity to see him in a glorified state. We read about this happening in the gospel of Matthew. Matthew 17:2-3 says, "And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became white as light. And behold, there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him." Can you imagine being the Apostle Peter at that moment? If there was any doubt as to whether or not Jesus was the Son of God, it would have been eliminated at that moment. This is also signif

2 Peter 1:16: For We Did Not Follow Cleverly Devised Myths When We Made Known To You The Power And Coming Of Our Lord Jesus Christ,

2 Peter 1:16 [16] For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. (ESV) The apostles of Jesus Christ were the primary leaders of the church, and active in proclaiming the gospel all over the known world. It was Peter himself, at the Day of Pentecost, who preached the sermon in which 3,000 people became Christians (Acts 2:41). The authority of the apostles comes from the fact that they were called by God and that they were eyewitnesses of the Savior.  The idea that the apostles would have devised myths to deceive people into following a new religion is absurd. They literally laid down their lives for the message of the gospel. The reward for what they were teaching was torture, persecution, and martyrdom. No one in their right mind would lay down their life for something they know is a cleverly devised myth. Peter himself was martyred for his faith. Peter, in this verse, is tal

2 Peter 1:15: And I Will Make Every Effort So That After My Departure You May Be Able At Any Time To Recall These These Things.

2 Peter 1:15 [15] And I will make every effort so that after my departure you may be able at any time to recall these things. (ESV) Peter was a responsible leader in the church. He was an apostle. We are reminded that the first Christians devoted themselves to the Apostles' teaching (Acts 2:42). Throughout all of the years of church history, one of the constant things that we see amongst those who are faithfully following the Lord is a devotion to the teaching given by the Apostles. This includes this letter that we call 2 Peter. Peter as already made clear in the previous verse that he would be soon leaving the earth. He sensed an obligation to make sure that after he was gone there would be a repository of biblical knowledge that would be a help to those who loved the Lord.  Peter could have been concerned about many things as he considered his departure. It is clear that passing on biblical knowledge was of top priority. The Apostle Paul seemed to share this same kind of purpose

2 Peter 1:14: Since I Know That The Putting Off Of My Body Will Be Soon, As Our Lord Jesus Christ Made Clear To Me.

2 Peter 1:14 [14] Since I know that the putting off of my body will be soon, as our Lord Jesus Christ made clear to me. (ESV) If the Lord was willing to tell you the time of your imminent death, would you want to know the date? If so, what would you do with the time that remained. I am sure that a person who did not know Jesus Christ as their Savior would probably live out every sensual pleasure possible. For a believer in Jesus Christ, I am sure that the priorities would be very different. This is certainly the case for the Apostle Peter. In the previous verse Peter said that he would remind the recipients of his letter of the godly qualities that were to be added their faith as long as he was alive. He knew that his days were numbered. What is his priority while he is living. Reminding people of their need to supplement their faith with godly qualities. These qualities are the responsibility of every believer. Remember, we are to make "every effort." Peter was told by the L

2 Peter 1:13: I Think It Right, As Long As I Am In This Body, To Stir You Up By Way Of Reminder

2 Peter 1:13 [13] I think it right, as long as I am in this body, to stir you up by way of reminder, (ESV) How often does the Apostle Peter think he should remind God's people of the truths of Scripture? As long as he is in his body. Peter saw his role as a preacher of the Word of God to be one of reminding people of what they have already heard. Peter is absolutely right to feel this way. One of the primary roles of a pastor today is to remind people of the truths of Scripture that they have already heard. Consider what a preacher does. A proper understanding of a preacher of the Word of God is not to come up with some new kind of revelation. Rather, his job is to shine a spotlight onto what Scripture already says. It is a job of being a reminder to people of what the Bible says. Our ability to forget is amazing. We will not ever reach a time when we do not need to be reminded of the truth of God's Word. Even the people of Israel would have viewed the role of parents as those

2 Peter 1:12: Therefore I Intend Always To Remind You Of Theses Qualities, Though You Know Them And Are Established In The Truth That You Have.

2 Peter 1:12 [12] Therefore I intend always to remind you of these qualities, though you know them and are established in the truth that you have. (ESV) We have looked at these qualities that are to be added to our faith. The qualities listed in verses 5 through 7 are: virtue, knowledge, self-control, steadfastness, godliness, brotherly affection, and love. I fear that many Christians do not even know that Scripture compels them to "make every effort" to supplement their faith with these important godly qualities. Peter is not just giving a random reminder to the believers who would be the first recipients of his letter. He says that he intends to always remind them. We might think, "Why does he have to remind them so much?" Two reasons come to mind. Firstly, these qualities are essential for our assurance, and for the credibility of our Christian testimony. Secondly, humans are prone to forget. The Apostle Peter is writing to those who already know the qualities th

2 Peter 1:11: For In This Way There Will Be Richly Provided For You An Entrance Into The Eternal Kingdom Of Our Lord And Savior Jesus Christ.

2 Peter 1:11 [11] For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. (ESV) Peter is giving reassurance to the Christian who labors in this life. He has expounded in verses 5 - 7 all of the godly virtues that should be lived out while on Earth. These qualities, added to our faith will provide blessing to us, by confirming our election and giving us assurance. They will also be a blessing to those who live with us. Godly behavior is a blessing to the world around us. It seems that there are many Christians who do not spend much time in living out the qualities of godliness that Peter recommends. They do not view this life as a place where they are taking their faith very seriously. As we have read in verse 9, ignoring godly virtues in your daily walk causes one to be nearsighted, and even blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from former sins. We are to be actively pursuing God's plan for living in

2 Peter 1:10: Therefore, Brothers, Be All The More Diligent To Confirm Your Calling And Election, For If You Practice These Qualities You Will Never Fall.

2 Peter 1:10 [10] Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. (ESV) As we see the word, "therefore," we need to look back at the previous verses. Peter has just given instruction on how we are to live our lives as believers in Jesus Christ. He talked about all of the godly qualities that should be added to the faith that we received. We were told that we should "make every effort" to add these qualities to our lives (2 Peter 1:5-9). In light of all of the importance of having these godly qualities, we are to be more diligent to confirm our calling and election. All of those who are saved were called by God to be saved. They are the elect. Romans 8:30 reminds us:  "And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified." God has done his work by calling us unto himself. Jesus, at th

2 Peter 1:9: For Whoever Lacks These Qualities Is So Nearsighted That He Is Blind, Having Forgotten That He Was Cleansed From His Former Sins.

2 Peter 1:9 [9] For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins. (ESV) As a small child I learned what the word, "nearsighted" meant. I was in first grade and the teacher recognized that I was not seeing things the way that I should. I remember going to the eye doctor. He asked me all of those annoying questions about which lens was better. I tried the best I could to answer him. Some weeks later, my new eyeglasses arrived and a whole new world opened up to me. I cannot imagine going back to the days of not being able to see. I now wear contacts or eyeglasses every day. My nearsightedness has been corrected by the lenses I choose to wear. I do not want to trade the wonder of seeing clearly with roaming around in a fog. This illustration is an important one. Peter describes the person who lacks the qualities he has been talking about, as being nearsighted, even blind. Let's review those qualit

2 Peter 1:8: For If These Qualities Are Yours And Are Increasing, They Keep You From Being Ineffective Or Unfruitful In The Knowledge Of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

2 Peter 1:8 [8] For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. (ESV) There are so many "Christians" who live their lives as if they do not know Jesus Christ at all. They are what the Apostle Peter describes as ineffective and unfruitful. They live with a basic assumption that salvation is something that happened years ago, and they can now coast their way to glory. There is no daily devotion to the Lord, no reading of his holy Word, and no sharing of the Gospel with the lost. Let's consider the question, "Should Christians have to do anything after their salvation experience?" The answer, if we are to consider Peter's words, would be a resounding yes! In fact, he tells us that we should have a set of qualities, and they should be increasing. This does not allow for standing still in the condition that we are in. Rather, it implies that we need to be growing in

2 Peter 1:7: And Godliness With Brotherly Affection, And Brotherly Affection With Love.

2 Peter 1:7 [7] And godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. (ESV) To our godliness we are to add brotherly affection and love. We struggle with this one. Instead of demonstrating brotherly affection, we are lucky if we can muster up some "brotherly tolerance." Many Christians will say things like, "I love my brother, but I don't like them." They think it is biblically acceptable to dislike their brother.  Peter emphasizes that the believer in Jesus Christ is to supplement his faith with certain qualities. So far, we have seen that we are to add virtue, knowledge, self-control, steadfastness, and godliness. This addition of brotherly affection is not easy. Because we are sinful creatures we discover that our brother or sister in Christ does things that hurt and offend us.  How do we offer brotherly affection to people who do not offer any brotherly affection to us? We will not ever do it in our own strength. The Holy Spirit is given

2 Peter 1:6: And Knowledge With Self-Control, And Self-Control With Steadfastness, And Steadfastness With Godliness

2 Peter 1:6 [6] And knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, (ESV) Peter has described a list of things that we should supplement our Christian faith with. We are thankful that God has given us salvation. We now see that those who are saved should be doing more than just celebrating salvation. Our saving faith a gift of God, and is our foundation. In the previous verse we were told to add virtue and knowledge. In this verse he adds self-control, steadfastness, and godliness. A changed life for Christ will need to have self-control. There will be constant temptations to fall back into an immoral lifestyle. It is the non-believer who indulges the flesh as a lifestyle. The Christian learns, by the power of the Holy Spirit, to restrain the desires of the body and mind that war within. Thankfully, one of the fruit of the spirit is self-control. The Holy Spirit helps us in this process of controlling our body. We will also need to be

2 Peter 1:5: For This Very Reason, Make Every Effort To Supplement Your Faith With Virtue, And Virtue With Knowledge

2 Peter 1:5 [5] For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, (ESV) This phrase, "for this very reason," refers us back to verses 3 and 4 which inform us that God's divine power has given us everything that we need, including his promises which secure our salvation. Because we have received such an amazing gift from God himself, we ought to respond by using what God has given in such a way that God is glorified, and the world around us takes notice. There are far too many Christians who are content to claim eternal life, while living a lazy, sinful, life on this earth. What Peter is saying here is in great contradiction to a casual approach to a Christian walk. We are to make every effort. It should be our lifetime ambition to use God's gifts to be a better disciple of Jesus. Yes, you have a faith in God for salvation. Now, Peter tells us things to add to that faith. We should add virtue. This word in the gree

2 Peter 1:4: By Which He Has Granted To Us His Precious And Very Great Promises

2 Peter 1:4 [4] By which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. (ESV)   Those who have placed their faith in Jesus Christ are sometimes unaware of just what they have become. Scripture describes us as being new creations (2 Corinthians 5:17). We realize that some things have changed. We may have a new repulsion for sin, and a greater affection for the Lord Jesus Christ. We likely begin to realize that what the world continues to offer is simply not that exciting any more. Notice that we have been granted precious and very great promises. Our salvation is based on the promise of God. We are not saved by our attempts in fulfilling God's Law. In fact, the Apostle Paul made quite a point to assure people that our justification is a work of God on our behalf, not a work of ours in order to satisfy God's holy require

2 Peter 1:3: His Divine Power Has Granted To Us All Things That Pertain To Life And Godliness

2 Peter 1:3 [3] His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, (ESV) The Christian walk is a difficult one. We know that there will be constant temptations. Our faith will be challenged by many who mock us, and will even persecute us. If we were to depend on our own abilities to live our lives for God, we would surely be defeated. The Apostle Peter delivers great news in this verse, and in the verses to follow, in relation to how we are to live godly lives. We discover that we are not without help. God's power has given to us all things. Pause there for a moment. All things have been given to us that pertain to life and godliness. He did not say, "some things." We are not lacking in anything that we need in order to live a godly life. What generally happens is that we do not use the things that God has given. The error is ours, not our loving God's. We have t

2 Peter 1:2: May Grace And Peace Be Multiplied To You In The Knowledge Of God And Of Jesus Our Lord.

2 Peter 1:2 [2] May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. (ESV) We love the concepts of grace and peace. Grace is the unmerited favor of God to us who believe. Having more and more of God's grace in our lives leads to greater blessing. We will never reach a point where we feel like we have had enough of God's grace in our lives. Of course, one of the reasons that we need more of God's grace is that we should be agents of that grace, giving it out to those around us. Peace is another quality that we cannot get enough of. The devil is constantly trying to undermine the peace that we have received from God. Peace is one of the fruit of the Spirit that we all ought to possess in some quantity. When Satan tries to overwhelm us with fear and anxiety, we need the Lord to give us more of his peace. We can be reminded that we have peace with God, and the peace of God. The question that comes to mind is, "How do I know more of the gr

2 Peter 1:1: Simeon Peter, A Servant And Apostle Of Jesus Christ, To Those Who Have Obtained A Faith Of Equal Standing

2 Peter 1:1 [1] Simeon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ: (ESV) Peter begins his second letter with an introduction to who he is. We think of him as the Apostle Peter. That word, Apostle, has great significance. It was the apostles' teaching that the early church was devoted to (Acts 2:42), and we also are devoted to the apostles' teaching. This teaching includes the very words that Peter penned in this letter. Before Peter mentions his apostleship, he refers to himself as a servant. This is where his real identity lies. A servant has in mind the needs, wants, and demands of his master. Peter knew that Jesus Christ was his master. He lived his life for the glory of God, and not for himself. He wanted those whom he was serving to know that his first priority was as a servant of Jesus Christ. We should be similarly motivated. Based on a proper underst

1 Peter 5:14: Greet One Another With The Kiss Of Love. Peace To All Of You Who Are In Christ.

1 Peter 5:14 [14] Greet ye one another with a kiss of charity. Peace be with you all that are in Christ Jesus. Amen. I have had the privilege of preaching the Gospel in various places. One such time, I preached in the Dominican Republic. In the church service there was considerable time spent with people shaking hands, greeting one another, hugging, even kissing. Many churches across the world have some sort of practice where they share God's love in this manner. There was a moment when from the Pulpit they described why they greet one another so dramatically. It was because there was a day when one of their members died suddenly the day after being at church. They wanted to make sure that before any of their church members passed on to the next life, they were told by their brothers and sisters in Christ that they were blessed by God, and loved by his/her church family. Peter says, "Greet one another with a kiss of charity." What a beautiful thing it is when people who b

1 Peter 5:13: She Who Is In Babylon, Who Is Likewise Chosen, Sends You Greetings, And So Does Mark, My Son.

1 Peter 5:13 [13] She who is at Babylon, who is likewise chosen, sends you greetings, and so does Mark, my son. (ESV) In this letter, Peter has spent much time talking about the persecution that is common for those who would be followers of Christ Jesus. We read here that "She who is in Babylon, sends you greetings." This is code language. Babylon refers to Rome. Those of a Jewish background would well know the history of Babylon, it's wickedness, and how it held the Israelites captive for seventy years. The church at Rome, was in "Babylon," a place of captivity and persecution for Christians. The church can be persecuted. The church can operate from a place of greater secrecy, but the church can never be defeated. Peter describes the church in Rome as chosen by God, just as the people who were recipients of this letter from the Apostle Peter. In addition to the greetings sent by the church from "Babylon," or Rome, greetings are being sent from Mark. T

1 Peter 5:12: By Sylvanus, A Faithful Brother As I Regard Him, I Have Written Briefly To You, Exhorting And Declaring That This Is The True Grace Of God. Stand Firm In It.

1 Peter 5:12 [12] By Silvanus, a faithful brother as I regard him, I have written briefly to you, exhorting and declaring that this is the true grace of God. Stand firm in it. (ESV) As you read this verse, you likely wonder who Silvanus is. You likely know him by a different name. This is Silas, the traveling companion of the Apostle Paul. You can read in Acts 16 of how he, alongside Paul, was beaten with rods in Philippi, and placed in prison. Silas knew what it was like to be persecuted for his faith in Christ. It is no small wonder that he is with Peter, and is a help to him. Silas was not only a faithful companion to Paul and Peter. We also find in the book of Acts that Silas was a prophet. Acts 15:32 says, "And Judas and Silas, who were themselves prophets, encouraged and strengthened the brothers with many words." God worked mightily through this humble servant. He is one whom we do not read much about in the New Testament, and yet, he is always mentioned positively. Pe

1 Peter 5:11: To Him Be The Dominion Forever And Ever. Amen.

1 Peter 5:11 [11] To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen. (ESV) We live at a time when people, even those who call themselves Christians, are more interested in having dominion, instead of God. Those of the prosperity "gospel" actually use this word in describing what they think that God should give to them. They essentially demand that God give them dominion over the world. God is the mechanism they use to pursue power and possessions. This is anti-biblical. To our Lord, Jesus Christ, be the dominion. He is the one who laid down his life for those whom he would call unto salvation. He is the one who conquered death and the grave for us. He is the one who deserves all glory and honor. To attempt to take dominion for yourself is an affront to the glorious king of kings. No verse in scripture says that to any person there is to be dominion forever and ever. It is significant to note the placement of this verse in the context of the rest of the letter that the Apostle Pet

1 Peter 5:10: And After You Have Suffered A Little While, The God Of All Grace, Who Has Called You To His Eternal Glory In Christ, Will Himself Restore, Confirm, Strengthen, And Establish You.

1 Peter 5:10 [10] And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. (ESV) The average Christian does not like the idea that suffering is a part of the package for belonging to Jesus Christ. If they are willing to accept the suffering idea, they probably will still have a problem with how this verse is worded by the Apostle Peter. He does not say that after you have suffered a little while, God will bring you home to eternal bliss. He says he will restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. These four words are not describing a future reality in heaven. Rather, they are describing the believer as developing a more stable and holy character, as a result of coming through great suffering. Peter knew of what he was talking. His persecution did not stop until he was crucified upside down. What happened to him as that the Holy Spirit did an amazing work in him

1 Peter 5:9: Resist Him, Firm In Your Faith, Knowing That The Same Kinds Of Suffering Are Being Experienced By Your Brotherhood Throughout The World.

1 Peter 5:9 [9] Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. (ESV)   Sometimes people say things like, "The devil made me do it." This kind of an attitude assumes that it is acceptable to give in to temptations, placing the blame on the strength of the enemy. The Apostle Peter is giving us very different instruction. He does not say, "Oh well, if you blow it, no big deal. Satan is too difficult to stand against." Rather, he admonishes us all to resist the devil, firm in your faith. We are not left powerless. Consider what we have been given. God has given us his very Spirit to dwell within us and empower us to stand against the enemy (Romans 8). We have also been given the assurance that God will never let us be tempted beyond what we can bear (1 Corinthians 10:13). The reality is, victory is possible for the believer in Jesus Christ. How we resist him is by staying close to

1 Peter 5:8: Be Sober-Minded; Be Watchful. Your Adversary The Devil Prowls Around Like A Roaring Lion, Seeking Someone To Devour.

1 Peter 5:8 [8] Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. (ESV) There are Christians who live their lives as if their Christianity is something that they signed up for years ago, and they do not need to give it much attention thereafter. Their church attendance is sporadic at best. They could not tell you the last time they have read the Bible. The last time that they have prayed to God is when something tragic happened. This kind of careless Christianity is not biblical. Peter warns us to stay sober-minded and watchful. We are to be ever vigilant. The enemy of your soul is prowling around, looking to devour someone. If you are not paying attention, and a lion comes near, you are sure to be attacked. Many Christians fall into temptation. They claim, "I never saw it coming." That is because they were not sober-minded and watchful. It is particularly interesting that it is the Apostle Peter giving this w