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Last week we learned that Peter expects us to make certain about God’s calling and His choice of us. That should lead us to practice the virtuous qualities of vs. 5-7 and as a result, we will not stumble. That’s the contrast of a life of godliness versus a life of ungodliness. This morning Peter tells us something we’re supposed to already know.
2 Pet. 1:12-15 says, “Therefore, I will always be ready to remind you of these things, even though you already know them, and have been established in the truth which is present with you. I consider it right, as long as I am in this earthly dwelling, to stir you up by way of reminder, knowing that the laying aside of my earthly dwelling is imminent, as also our Lord Jesus Christ has made clear to me. And I will also be diligent that at any time after my departure you will be able to call these things to mind.”
Peter is always ready. He is ready to remind his readers of what he has said up to this point. He looks back at vs. 3-11. They are established in the truth. Establish means set up on a firm or permanent basis. 1 Jo. 2:21 said, “I have not written to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it, and because no lie is of the truth.” Truth is permanent; it is not built on shifting sand. What was true for Adam is true for us. What King David held to be true is still true for us. The truth that Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John knew; it is the truth that was held dear by men like Paul, Timothy, Titus, Philemon, and James. Truth cannot change. Jo. 8:32 says, “And you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” Peter’s readers know the truth because they have the same kind of faith he does.
Peter says it’s his right. I’ve often said that when you become a Christian, you give up your own rights in favor of the Father’s. We speak a lot about our rights as American citizens. Some of the more popular rights we like to talk about is the right to freedom of speech. We have the right to bear and keep arms. Police officers read suspects their rights and make sure they understand them. Peter says he has a right – a responsibility – as long as he is alive to, “Stir you up by way of reminder.” As long as he has breath in his lungs, he’s going to remind people of faith of what they know. He is not entering the twilight years of his life when he can sit back and watch other people do the work of ministry. There is no retirement for Peter. Not a time when he does not actively engage people in the power of the Gospel. There is no time when he says, “I used to . . .” Too many people live by what they used to do.
Peter has a sense of urgency that we should have. He knows his time on earth is short because the, “Laying aside of my earthly dwelling is imminent, as also our Lord Jesus Christ made it clear to me.” Paul mentions earthly tent in 2 Cor. 5 and it refers to our body and that’s what Peter is talking about. Peter is nearing death, but he’s not sick. Peter was killed for his faith sometime around 66 A.D. History writings of the day say he was crucified upside down, but we can’t know for certain. Most scholars agree that he was martyred. But while alive, he didn’t want to waste time on things that didn’t matter so he impressed upon his readers a sense of urgency to the truth of the Gospel. The Gospel is not new, but we need to relearn it each and every day. In 1 Cor. 15:31 Paul said, “I affirm, brethren, by the boasting in you which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily.” Not in a literal sense, but every day we need to remember what Christ did and never take it for granted. Each day we must make the decision to live for Christ, to lay aside our desires and run after God. Jesus said it pretty clearly, “And He was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me.” (Lu. 9:23) Our focus needs to remain on Christ and that’s what Peter is saying. He wants to stir them up, to remind them of the truth they already know. He’s being their cheerleader, urging them to keep going and remember the truth that is in them. Take nothing for granted, leave nothing to chance, don’t make assumptions. Don’t get so caught up in this world that you forget what your primary purpose is.
Peter wants to leave behind what all of should have a desire to leave behind, his legacy if you will. In 1 Cor. 3:11-15 Paul said, “For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work. If any man’s work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward. If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.” In just a few years, few of us will be remembered. The majority of people on earth live in total obscurity except for the people in their immediate sphere. Are you here to make a name for yourself, or a name of God? When the emphasis is placed on ourselves, all of the great things we have done are burned up. Peter wants his work to be eternal, that’s why he’s reminding them of the truth. When I was in the Navy, I was fairly well known in the submarine community and in particular the nuclear side of things. I had been around for more than 23 years and I was a legend. People would use my teaching, my knowledge, my way of doing things and would say, “(Senior, Master) Chief Dent says . . .” I retired from the Navy in 2006. Here we are just about 7 years later, and few people know me and fewer care what I thought or what I said. When I am gone, I don’t really care if you remember me, I care that you remember that I loved Jesus, that I served Him. He is eternal, I am temporary. Like Peter, I am going to be quick about reminding you and others about the eternal truth that is found in Jesus Christ so that after I am gone, you will still remember the awesomeness of Christ.
In Chapter 2 of Crazy Love (pages 50-51), Frances Chan wrote, “I could be the next person at my church to die. We have to realize it. We have to believe it enough that it changes how we live. . . . Friends, we need to stop living selfish lives, forgetful of our God. Our lives here are short, often unexpectedly so, and we can all stand to be reminded of it from time to time.”