You Need a Sure Word

 

You Need a Sure Word
II Peter 1:12-21
 
Many of you are familiar with Westboro Baptist Church. A part of their congregation was in town over the weekend to protest the funerals of the tornado victims. They see the tornado as a judgment of God upon Oklahoma because a homosexual minister was allowed to pray before the legislature a week ago.
 
Those who were killed, according to their website, were killed because they were evil and the proof is they are dead; therefore we should rejoice in their death because they stand as an example of a righteous God judging sin.  
 
They serve as a contemporary example of what happens when the Word of God is misunderstood and misapplied. Sincere in their beliefs, they are then motivated to behavior that is inconsistent with the Word of God. And they serve as a graphic reminder of the danger of false teaching and what can happen if you get involved in the wrong kind of teaching.
 
In the second chapter of II Peter, Simon Peter himself is going to address the whole matter of false teaching. Remember that these verses are in the context of what he has already written. In the opening verses, he talks about the like precious faith, the genuine faith, the real deal. He's basically saying that before you understand the false you have to be very familiar with the truth. One of the best ways to recognize a counterfeit is to become thoroughly familiar with something which is genuine.
He has two basic points of emphasis in the first chapter. He first of all says that you need to understand salvation. You need to understand what it means to be saved, how you are saved, and what God does when He saves you, and what your responsibility is to grow and develop and mature that salvation so that you will become the kind of Christian God has saved you to be. The first thing is to understand your salvation. 
 
But now beginning in verse 12 he says something else. He basically is saying here that what you need to do is learn how to use your Bible. From verse 12 to the end of the chapter, the theme is your Bible. 
All of these verses weave in and out with a theme of the Bible. For instance, in verse 19 he says that the Bible is like a light that shines in a dark place.   A dark place is a very picturesque word. It means a murky place, a dismal place. It means a squalid place. It is a vivid description of the kind of world in which we live. He's saying that it's like a dank cellar. It's like a dismal swamp.
 
He says that your Bible is like a light in this kind of world. You need the light of the scriptures if you are going to be able to move in the right direction.
 
He tells us why the Bible is like a light and why it is so important to know your Bible in these verses of scripture. He says that in your Bible, number one, you have
 
I. Practical Truth.
 
You will find practical, usable, down-to-earth truth in your Bible.
 
It's rather interesting the way Peter does this beginning in verse 12. He says, "I'm going to put you in remembrance of these things, though you know them, so that you will be established in the present truth."
 
He is writing initially here, primarily to the live audience who would receive his letter. He gives them some personal reminders. He says, "I'm going to remind you of present truth. I'm going to teach you some things that you already know."
 
I remember several years ago, while living in Duncan, my doctor moved away and a new doctor took over his practice. The first time I had an appointment with him, he spent an hour and a half with me. I remember him saying, “You will probably know everything I’m going to tell you. But when I’m through, I’ll know you know.”
 
As his patient, I became his responsibility.
 
That is where Peter is. He felt a sense of responsibility. Remember what Jesus said to Simon Peter after the resurrection? In John 21 He said to Simon Peter, "Feed my sheep." That is exactly what Simon Peter is doing now. He is feeding the sheep. He is reminding them of what they know already.
 
He says in verse 12 that he is going to intentionally remind them.  
 
He says in verse 13, "While I’m this tent, (physical body) I’m going to stir you up by reminding you." 
 
 
 
 
Three times in these verses he uses the word reminder or remember. 
 
verse 12
verse 13
verse 15
 
He's a good teacher. Someone said that the first three rules of good teaching are these: repetition, repetition, and repetition. 
 
What he is saying is that I want to teach you the present truth. I want to teach you how to live for the Lord. And I don’t want you to forget these things.
 
One of the problems we are facing in the Christian church today is that a lot of believers haven't understood how to connect between what they believe and the way they behave. That's why we've got such a mess going on in the lives of many people who call themselves the children of God. They have not learned to translate what they believe into their daily, practical behavior. We need a reformation in America on the part of God's people who are saved to live like they are saved.
 
He says that I want to remind you of this present truth. 
 
Then notice verse 14.
 
Jesus showed him in John 21 that he was going to die. He told him something of the method that he was going to die.
 
The time is short. He talks about personal reminders. 
 
Then he says in verse 15, "After my decease." In other words he says that there is going to be a time when I have died. 
 
Simon Peter says, "I am leaving you a permanent record so you will have a reminder after my death. I want you to be able after my decease to have these things always in remembrance. I don't want you to forget them. I'm going to leave you a permanent record." 
 
Probably he is referring to his first letter, I Peter. He could have even been referring to the Gospel of Mark because Mark was a companion, a young man who went along with Simon Peter, who evidently wrote down the sermons of Simon Peter. We believe that what we have in our Gospel of Mark is really a capsule of some of the preaching of Simon Peter.
 
He is talking about the permanent record of scripture. It is amazing to me how these men understood the significance of what they were doing. Later in this letter, Peter will talk about Paul who wrote according to the wisdom given him.
 
He actually refers to the writings of Paul as scripture as he addresses fase teachers who are twisting the words of Paul just as they do the rest of the Scriptures.
 
Peter is being moved by the Holy spirit to record these things, and he is saying, after I’m gone, you don’t have to worry because God has given to you a reminder through me that you can refer to. 
And on e of the responsibilities of the preacher is to remind you of what you already know from Scripture.
 
Sometimes people want something new. What we need to do is to be able to understand something old. Don't ever forget the basic truths of the Christian faith, the life of the Lord Jesus Christ, His death on the cross for our sins, His resurrection from the grave, the Christian experience which He gives to us so that you and I can have practical, daily guidance in the Christian life.
 
In your Bible you will have practical truth, but also in your Bible you will have
 
II. Historical Truth.
 
Look at what he says in verse 16. 
 
The word fables is where we get our word myths, fictions. He's saying that the Christian faith is historically correct. Our faith is built upon actual, factual history. It's not just some scheme. It's just not some idea that was concocted in someone's mind, not some cleverly contrived fable.
 
Your Bible deals with historical truth. It's not some myth or fairy tale. The Bible tells you about what really happened. You say, "Preacher, to do you believe the Bible?" Yes. I believe the Bible. "Do you believe everything in the Bible?" Sure. I believe everything in the Bible. "Do you understand everything in the Bible?" No. I don't understand everything in the Bible, but I am a cover-to-cover preacher. I believe it from Genesis to maps, all the way through.
Genesis 1, verse 1, says, "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." If I believe there's a God big enough to create this whole universe of ours, then surely I can believe anything else the Bible says. If you get through Genesis 1, verse 1, then you're home free until the end of the Book of Revelation.
 
"Do you believe there was really a flood?" I believe there was a flood. I don't know how Noah stood all those animals in there as long as he was in there with them. But I guess it was better to be with the stench on the inside than the storm on the outside.
 
"Do you believe, Preacher, that a big fish really swallowed Jonah?" Yes. I'd believe it if it said that Jonah swallowed the fish. God can do anything He wants to do. I don't understand everything in the Bible, but I believe it. 
 
Somebody says, "What about all the questions in the Bible? Where did Cain get his wife?" I don't know where Cain got his wife. I don't care where Cain got his wife. If he's happy with her, then I'm happy with her. This stuff is not made up. This is real. 
 
Simon Peter says in verse 16, "For we have not followed cunningly devised fables when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ." Then he goes into a discussion of what happened on the Mount of Transfiguration.
 
Jesus took Peter, James and John and went up to a mountain. He calls that Mount of Transfiguration in verse 18, "the holy mount." In Matthew 17 where we have the historical account, it's called a "high mountain." 
But any mountain where you have a new experience with the Lord Jesus Christ becomes a holy mountain. Simon Peter says, We were up on that mountain and we saw the power and the coming of the Lord. 
 
Someone says, "I thought the Second Coming was in the future?" That is exactly right. But what he's saying is that when they saw the power and coming of our Lord that they had a preview of the coming again of Jesus. That was quite an experience.
 
He says basically, "We saw all of this with our eyes, and we heard all of this with our ears." Verse 16 says, "We were eyewitnesses of his majesty," His visible splendor. He says that we saw it with our eyes.
 
When you read the little book of I John and you go into the opening verses, he says in that third verse, "That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you." What am I saying? I'm saying that Simon Peter actually saw this take place on the mountain. 
 
It says in verse 17, "For he received from God, the Father, honor and glory." 
 
He was up on the mountain with Peter, James, and John. Then Moses and Elijah came serving as reminders of those who will be caught up to meet the Lord in the rapture and not die. He saw Elijah and Moses, and it reminded Simon Peter that what he saw was actually true. He saw it with his eyes.
 
In verse 18 he says that he heard it with his ears. The cloud opened up and the voice of the Heavenly Father spoke and said about Jesus, "This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased."
He says in verse 18 that we heard this voice. He's saying that our faith is built upon actual, historical events. There really was a Jesus. He really was born of the virgin. He really did live a sinless life. There really was a cross outside the city of Jerusalem. He really did die on that cross. He really was buried in a tomb, and three days later He really did come back from the dead. 
 
These are not fairy tales that have been made up. Your Bible gives you accurate, historical truth. That's why you need your Bible and need to know what it says.
 
In the Bible you have practical truth. In the Bible you have historical truth. But here is the third thing we are going to learn from these verses. In the Bible you have
 
III. Spiritual Truth.
 
Look at verse 19. 
 
This is very interesting. He has just been talking about the glorious transformation, the transfiguration of Jesus. He says that it actually happened. We saw it with our eyes. We heard it with our ears. 
 
Now he says in verse 19, "We have also a more sure word." He's saying that he's got something better than that. You and I have something better than Simon Peter had when he saw and heard all that took place on the Mount of Transfiguration.
 
Do you know what he's saying we've got that's better than that? Your Bible.
We have a more sure word of prophecy. This is better. This is more reliable.
 
Did you know that sometimes you can't trust your senses? Did you know that sometimes your experience can be unreliable? Have you ever seen something that you thought you saw and yet later on you realized that you didn't really see it? Sometimes your eyes can fool you. Sometimes your ears can fool you. You think you hear something you don't hear.
 
Peter is saying that you and I have something that will help us get through this old dark, murky, squalid world that is more reliable than any experience of our senses. It is the written, inspired, infallible, accurate Word of God.
 
Notice how the Bible came about. In verses 20 and 21 he tells us how our Bible came about. This is one of the greatest passages in all of the New Testament about the inspiration of your Bible. 
 
Is the Bible truly inspired of God? Is it accurate? Is it reliable? 
 
verse 20
 
The word interpretation means to unloose, to untie and loose. He's saying that no prophet of the scriptures unloosed the things you find in the Bible from their own minds. They didn't concoct it. They didn't make up their own scriptures.
 
That's what people do today. They just make up their own religion. 
 
We are living in a day now where people want to be told something that will make them feel good. I like to feel good. Somebody said, "All they're going to give people today is good news." People need good news. We've got a world full of bad news. You're not really ready for the good news until first of all you hear the bad news.
 
People want to make up their own interpretation. They want to concoct it in their own brains. But he's saying that the writers of your Bible did not produce this scripture out of their own thinking. "No prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation."
 
Here's how it happened. 
 
verse 21
 
The word moved is such a beautiful word. It's the picture of a ship moving along by the wind and the sails.
 
The Bible is a spiritual book. It has a spiritual author. It speaks of spiritual things. It is not just a book written by men. It is not just a book concocted in the minds of men. They wrote because they were set aside by God to write, and the Holy Spirit moved them so that what they wrote is exactly what God wants to be in our Bible. It's spiritual truth.
 
Not only do we have in the Bible spiritual inspiration, but we have in the Bible spiritual illumination. The same Holy Spirit who inspired men to write the Bible is the Holy Spirit who will take the Bible and help you to understand it.
 
Look at verse 19 again. "We have also a more sure word of prophecy." We've got something better. He says, "Take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place." God's Word will enlighten you, "until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts." 
 
There is the darkest hour of the night when it is just as dark as it can be, and then all of a sudden there is that morning star. When the morning star comes the rays of light begin to go forth. The day star arises, that bright and morning star arises. 
 
What he's saying is that God has given you a Bible. It's practical truth and historical truth, but it's also spiritual truth. It will address the dark needs of your heart. It will address the sin problem in your life. It is spiritual truth, and it is the truth which tells us about Jesus who is the bright and morning star.
 
"He will arise," it says, "in your hearts." How real is Jesus to you? Is Jesus real? Do you want Him to be more real to you? The more you will read about Jesus in the Bible, the more real Jesus will become in your life. He can arise in your hearts. The purpose of the Bible is to help us live. It is to help us know how to live like Jesus, to be like Jesus. Christ has saved us in order to make us like Himself. "The day star arises in your hearts."
 
I heard about a young preacher who was preaching at one of the old camp meetings many years ago. After the service was over, he needed to make his way back to the cabin where he was staying. They didn't have electrical lighting in those days. One of the older preachers was aware that the young man may have been a little bit insecure, and he gave him what they used for light in those days. 
He gave him a piece of pine that had a knot in it that had been set afire. It was almost impossible to put the fire out of a chunk of pine like that. 
 
He gave it to the young man and said, "Son, take this light and it will see you home." The young man said, "Suppose the wind begins to blow." The man said, "That's alright. It will see you home." He said, "What if it begins to rain?" The older preacher said, "That's alright, son. It will see you home." The young preacher took the pine knot, and he made his way to his cabin and it saw him home.
 
God has put a light in your life. He has given you the light of the Word of God. It's got practical truth in it. It's got historical truth in it. It's got spiritual truth in it. It will meet your deepest needs. It will see you home. It will take you all the way to heaven.
 
The best thing in the world to do to keep you straight so that you don't fall for the false teaching is to know your Bible, follow your Bible, and let God speak to you from your Bible.
 
Let's bow our heads in prayer.
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