Read 2 Peter 1: 12-21
General idea: The main theme of Peter's message is stated here, to pay attention to Christ, not to falsehoods. Have you ever wondered about situations you have faced with faith and confidence in the past but now, somehow you have misplaced that confidence or knowledge? Perhaps you once stood firm in your faith in Christ, but the busyness and stresses of life have distracted you. Or perhaps you have started to believe in teachings that tingle your interests and emotions but are not rooted in Scripture. Peter is seeking to point his people back to what they once knew. He reminds them of the significance and relevance of Christ. He also restates to them his authority as an eyewitness and a personal disciple of Jesus Himself. This reminder is to a church that has slipped from truth to what is new and fleeting. We all need reminders from people in our lives who are mentors and good examples, and we need to be on guard against those who seek to derail us from His Word and Truth.
Peter had seen the glorious, majestic splendor of Jesus firsthand and he had heard the very voice of God. He had even replicated some of Jesus' miracles. Many say that Peter's confidence came from directly seeing Christ firsthand, but that the full impact did not occur until after Jesus left them bodily and sent His Spirit. Thus, we do not have to have seen Jesus personally to have the same confidence that Peter and Paul had!
The people to whom Peter was writing were being clever with words and arguments in making up their own spurious doctrines. They were confusing others and twisting what Peter had said. Peter shows them his Apostolic testimony, that what he has taught from Christ is real, impacting truth.
Look over these key words and ask how do they relate to you?
- Remind you/stir you up was an ancient "moral exhortation" to illustrate that false teachings by manipulative and prideful men have taken a foothold. Peter's theme was that the Word of God, the Gospel, and all teaching must be true to His Word. His congregation should and would have known what was true (Matt. 28:10; Heb. 10:24-25).
- Tent/in his body was a colloquialism that meant body. Perhaps Peter was warned by the Spirit that his time was limited. Thus, his point is that time, for all us, is short, but we have hope. The physical nature of our humanity, our life here on earth, is transitory and temporary. Our real home is Heaven (John 1:14; 2 Cor. 5:1-4).
- Make every effort indicates to pay close attention. This was, conceivably, Peter's last chance to inform his people of what was important. His passion and purpose was not to have a life of laziness or leisure, but be fervent in proclaiming Christ and His Gospel. The questions for us are what are we doing? And, how are our efforts going? We have a purpose! The results are not as important as our obedience to follow and practice His call (John 21:18-19)!
- Departure literately means exodus, as in leaving one place for another. Our bodies are corporal, temporal, and temporary; we are not made for this world but for eternity. Peter was not afraid of death, but saw it as a conversion to the next step, which was his eternal life with Christ (Luke 9:31)!
We are called to take the spiritual initiative and be productive! Does God need to stir you up? Are you spiritually lazy or apathetic? Does your Christian activity line up to His revealed truth or is it based on your plans and agenda? Is your teaching from His Word or a counterfeit? Always be willing to know the difference and be willing to repent and seek forgiveness when you are wrong! True Christianity and its practice never retire or become counter-productive (Matthew 28)!
Peter points out that the Prophets preached and wrote to an audience in darkness and despair and who would not be convicted. He feels the same, as his words are shining in the dark. Perhaps, you feel your efforts are the same, but being faithful does not always means having results. We are all called to be the bright light of His Light shining in us. We are to realize our place and in humility realize He chooses to use our weak verbiage to enthuse and equip others to apply His percepts and call! God is the deliverer; we are the receivers. We are to receive in humbleness. God's Word does not come from us, but it is moved into us by the Holy Spirit and then proclaimed by us! The writers of the Bible were human authors who were used by God. They actively spoke His Word as they recorded. How heinous for us to seek to twist and manipulate His Word for our own agenda!
My four year old niece asked me, since Jesus lives in me, does He take a nap? Jesus lives and is to shine in our hearts, and He never naps!
The Essential Inductive Questions (for more Inductive questions see Inductive Bible Study):
1. What does this passage say?
2. What does this passage mean?
3. What is God telling me?
4. How am I encouraged and strengthened?
5. Is there sin in my life for which confession and repentance is needed?
6. How can I be changed, so I can learn and grow?
7. What is in the way of these precepts affecting me? What is in the way of my listening to God?
8. How does this apply to me? What will I do about it?
9. What can I model and teach?
10. What does God want me to share with someone?
- How is Jesus a real power in you? What about your church?
- We can you receive in humbleness to improve your spiritual growth?
3. Have you ever compared what you had with faith and confidence in the past with what you have today? Have you grown, have you remained the same, or have you taken a backward slide?
4. How have the busyness and stresses of life distracted you from fully following Christ and His call and gifting for you?
5. Can you name some of the reasons for your faith that is attested by science, reason, history, and/or personal testimonies?
6. How does God need to stir you up?
7. Are you spiritually lazy or apathetic? We all are at times, so what can help convict you to move forward in your faith and discipleship?
8. What do you consider darkness and despair ion your life?
9. Does your Christian activity line up to His revealed truth or is it based on your own plans and agenda?
10. Does the teaching you receive come from His Word or is it a counterfeit?
11. How does knowing that the message from the Word of God and Prophets was not manmade or some clever philosophical wisdom, but rather from God Himself give you hope and confidence to share your faith with others?
12. What do you need to do in order to help others make your church be more glorious for His Glory? What is needed to make this a reality?
© 2005 R. J. Krejcir Ph.D. Discipleship Tools http://www.discipleshiptools.org/