You can listen to the podcast here.
Last week Peter told us that true freedom is found in Jesus Christ. The false teachers are entangled in the defilements of the world because they were never really transformed by the power of God. This morning, Peter shifts from the false teachers to encourage, challenge and fire up his readers.
2 Pet. 3:1-2 says, “This is now, beloved, the second letter I am writing to you in which I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder, that you should remember the words spoken beforehand by the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior spoken by your apostles.”
Peter has hit the reply button. He says it’s the second letter he’s written to them to do roughly the same thing. He has concluded his arguments against the false teachers and what they do in and to the church. He turns his attention back to his readers. He sets off the new section by calling them, “Beloved.” His readers are not like the false teachers that claimed a relationship with Christ, but had no redeeming qualities indicating such. His readers were the real thing. They were genuine believers, but they were not without fault.
So why the second letter? Let’s break it down. He says, “I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder.” While this comes across as good encouragement, we have to read it with purpose. He says, “This is now the second letter I am writing to you.” It’s almost like he is gently rebuking them because they didn’t heed the instructions and warnings of the first letter. What is the first letter? Most commentators believe there is strong evidence that it is 1 Peter, but there are some critics. If we recall his first letter, a primary theme was persevering in the faith regardless of circumstances. Specifically, the people he wrote to were undergoing significant persecution. Peter said that the proof of our faith is more precious than gold or silver. What proof do you need? The proof of our faith is in praise and honor and glory in Jesus no matter what. We persevere; we don’t quit or give up. It’s interesting that we’ll persevere in everything except our walk with Christ. Communication was difficult in those days often taking weeks and months for new communication to be received. So Peter did what was necessary back in the day; he wrote again.
He says, “I am stirring up.” What is neat about this is Peter is doing the stirring – it’s present tense. Who is Peter? An apostle of Christ, an elder, a shepherd. Do you think you can live a life of authenticity away from the church, away from godly leadership? Don’t tell me you don’t need me to help you get motivated. Yes, you should be passionate about Christ, more passionate about Him than working out, or school, or going to the beach, or sports, or music, or your family. Here’s a reality check. Do you want to be known for what you do in this world or in eternity? The proof is in your life. Stir comes from the word that means wake up. Could it be that his readers had become lethargic in their walk? Could it be that they were easy prey for the false teachers because they got lazy? Could it be that they were more involved in other things? We don’t know for sure, but we do know that Peter feels the need to remind them of some things.
Sp Peter offers up a reminder. He wants to stir, “up their sincere mind.” A mind is a terrible thing to waste and Peter is giving them the jolt they need. So he goes back to 2 Pet. 1:12-15 where he was ready to remind them about what they already knew. They had a, “sincere mind.” It means wholesome thinking. Peter is reminding them to think about what is right, pure, and good. Phil 4:8 says, “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.” As followers of Christ, we need to be reminded about what we know because that helps our mind which helps our body which helps our behavior which helps our impact on others which helps Jesus which impacts eternity!
He’s stirring them up by reminding them. What does he remind them about? It’s in v. 2:“Remember the words spoken beforehand by the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior spoken by your apostles.” He wanted to stir them up to what they knew, to the foundation that was laid by the prophets and apostles and he circles back to the end of Chapter 1. In Chapter 2, Peter spoke of the dead end path of the false teachers encouraging his readers to avoid that path. Remember the underlying denial of Christ’s return is being debunked by Peter. He points back to the prophets – the Old Testament – that pointed to the Day of the Lord. He speaks of, “The commandment of the Lord and Savior spoken by the apostles.” Jesus and Savior have one article in Greek indicating the same person. The apostles are speaking the word of Jesus so we better pay attention to what they say.
Everything we need to live a life devoted to Christ is summed up in the commands of God and Jesus. Our relationship is not a list of do’s and don’ts. It’s about living an authentic, passionate life for Christ that exemplifies His transforming power. The false teachers are a contrast to what we are supposed to be. If you belong to Jesus, your life should reflect it.