When you're standing at the crossroads of a tough decision and you're trying to figure out whether to turn left or right, where do you go for directions?
What map do you consult? Other than your gut instincts, who do you trust to show you the way? Today on Insight for Living, Chuck Swindoll continues our study in 2 Peter. In the passage before us today, we'll discover timeless wisdom on how to determine God's will. Do you find yourself perplexed over an important decision? Well, these principles from Peter will steer you to the right choice.
Here's Chuck Swindoll. Some believers volley phrases back and forth like, God told me this, or the Lord spoke to me. Usually the people who use these spiritually sounding words don't like to be quizzed on the details of exactly how God spoke to them.
Now, why would that be? Because when you look at the source of their revelation, it usually lacks biblical justification. When people displace the Bible as their sure source of truth, they exchange the way of truth for a world of fiction.
It's not a new thing for people to grasp at both natural and supernatural means of guidance, while ignoring or adding to, or for that matter, twisting God's word. In fact, during the final days of true apostles and prophets, the warning of the apostle Paul as found in Acts 20, 29, and 30 to the Ephesians came true. You may remember he was the one who said, I know that after my departure, savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. And from among your own selves, men will arise speaking perverse things to draw away the disciples after them.
What a serious word of warning. In 2 Peter 1 verses 1 through 11, that old apostle exhorted his readers to be all the more diligent in developing specific character qualities, so they would be well equipped to live fruitful lives for God's glory. Then beginning at verse 12, he addressed the subject of the truth itself, what it is and what it's not. Simply stated, the truth is God's revelation.
It's his written word. As God's children, we should establish ourselves in that body of truth. Allow me to read for you Peter's admonition as he recorded it in 2 Peter 1 verses 12 through 21. 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. For we did not follow cleverly devised tales when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For when he received honor and glory from God the Father, such an utterance as this was made to him by the majestic glory.
This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased. And we ourselves heard this utterance made from heaven when we were with him on the holy mountain. So we have the prophetic word made more sure to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place until the day dawn and the morning star arises in your hearts. But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one's own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.
You're listening to Insight for Living. To dig deeper into the Bible with Chuck Swindoll, be sure to download his Searching the Scriptures Studies by going to insight.org slash studies. And now the message from Chuck titled, Be Sure of Your Source. Those of us who have the scriptures handy in whatever version we wish, and in whatever size print, in whatever kind of Bible, whatever binding, we can easily get spoiled, can't we? We just have whatever we need at our fingertips, and if we have it in our home, all we need to do is, with a few dollars, purchase a copy and we've got another copy of another version of the scriptures. It is so common to us, it is such a presumption on our part, I fear at times we don't appreciate what we have in the written scriptures. One of the most commonly heard statements, at least I hear it often, is God told me. Or in other words, I should do this because God has led me to do it. People who say that often don't like to be quizzed on their source.
I know because I usually quiz them on their source. Usually I find that those statements come from folks who are about to make decisions that lack a good solid common sense, and more often than that, they lack biblical justification. They have decided that God has led them, God has spoken to them, God is directing them to do things, and when you look at the source or the way they came to that conclusion, if you're like me, you're sometimes a little shocked, or at least surprised. Sometimes people draw on the natural realm for that direction from God.
As a matter of fact, at times it is more superstition than anything. I've heard of a fellow who decided that he should go to the mission field when he told the Lord that if the next four lights are green, this is serious, the next four lights are green, he would say yes to God. And sure enough, the next four lights were green, sure enough, he said yes to God.
He didn't last two years in the mission field. I heard a man, Cynthia and I had dinner with this couple, and he said, the reason I knew I should marry this lady is because I said, Lord, if she wears that red plaid skirt to dinner this evening, I will know she's the one for me. Give me a break. Wouldn't you hate to know that the guy married you because you wore that red plaid skirt to dinner that evening? One lady was struggling with whether she should go to Israel and she got her answer the next morning and the answer was yes. The reason is she woke up and her digital alarm clock read 747, 747. The reason she knew is the equipment to fly them from where she was to Israel was a Boeing 747. And when she saw 747 on the clock, that was her sign from God. Another very popular method is the zodiac. And it is used more often than any of us Christians would ever want to believe.
People watch the stars, they get information from professional astrologers, and they base the will of God on the placement, the arrangement, and the message from the stars. This past week I spent a good deal of time with a fellow who has in his business a woman he cares very much about. And she is just about to marry into a family that is given to new age. And in fact the potential mother-in-law is a channeler. She will be one who channels the message from God.
And we spent off and on half a week hoping to rescue her from those lies. And very appealing messages that attract you by offering help and bringing you to full potential. There is also a realm of the supernatural that people love to get involved in, not to mention the occult as one. But there are dreams. Haven't you had people say, I got this from God in a dream. Or I had a vision of God at standing in my kitchen at 3 o'clock in the morning and God appeared to me. I asked, what did you have for supper? Usually I like to know that.
That keeps me up sometime at 3 o'clock in the kitchen. And I get all kinds of messages that are absolutely spurious as it has to do with knowing God's will. Crystals, cards, the use of mediums, communicating with the dead allegedly. And the enormous amount of money that people will spend to connect with somebody who will connect them with their lost loved one. The next time you happen to be attending the grave site service, take a look around and see how many there are standing at a grave site. Kneeling or talking. It's heart rending as a pastor to drive away in the coach with the funeral director and have him point out one person after another.
Oh, they're here rather regularly. We see her, she hardly misses a day of the week. My mother, God rest her soul, ministered to a lady across the street from us who had lost her dear husband. And she loved him like she loved no one on earth and no one in heaven. And when she lost her man, her life collapsed. And the only thing she knew to do was to return to the grave site regularly. My mother's heart went out to that woman and she went across the street with a pitcher of lemonade and a plate of cookies and asked us as children to pray for her. She spoke to this lady and she went over there and after a few visits she had led her to Christ. This lady decided her ministry for the rest of her life was to be in cemeteries. Bringing the message of hope and encouragement and the love of Christ to folks who think they can make contact with God's message by being in touch with the dead. She is the only woman I know that has a cemetery ministry and if she's still living, God help her to stay at it.
What a place. You know why people do this? Do you know why they write in to a person that says I can tell you about how to get God's message? They want to know the truth.
Of course. Intelligent reasoning minds want to know the truth. I want to know the truth about my life.
I'd love to know the truth about the future. I'd love to know the truth about marriage and the truth about child rearing and the truth about how to handle problems and the truth about how to deal with this situation that's coming, that's caving in on me. And so they seek natural and supernatural sources of information.
Believe me, they are there and some of them are terribly convincing led by very bright, clever, though false teachers who are themselves deceived and therefore deceiving others. Turn please to 2 Peter chapter 1 and for the next few minutes let's focus on the reliable source of truth. Remember Peter has introduced himself in the first part of the letter. He has offered grace and peace in multiplied form, verse 2, along with the knowledge of God and Jesus Christ to his readers who are for the most part Gentiles. He has then in verses 4 through 9 set forth a list of character traits that will take the rest of our lives to cultivate, to develop, and he tells us to apply all diligence, verse 5, in fulfilling these character traits in our lives. If we lack these things, verse 9, we become blind and short-sighted.
We suffer from spiritual myopia and we will miss God's best for our lives. So he says again, verse 10, be all the more diligent about these things. When he gets to verse 12, he turns the corner on his subject in chapter 1 and he begins to address the subject of the truth, the truth. Let me read the verses if I may. Therefore I shall also 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. And I consider it right as long as I am in this earthly dwelling to stir you up by way of remembrance or by way of reminder, knowing that the laying aside of my earthly dwelling is imminent. That is a biblical way of saying I'm going to die very soon. My death 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 may be able to call these things to mind. And then he goes on to describe this. He's giving a little personal testimony about what lies in front of him. And in it, he weaves together thoughts about truth, about God's revelation.
And that's what it is. In case you're wondering what is bottom line, what is the truth? It is God's revelation. It is the message of God to mankind. Let me pass along, for no extra charge, let me pass along three great doctrines, three great theological doctrines that will continue to be the watershed of importance in every generation. First, revelation. Second, inspiration. Third, illumination.
Let's understand the difference. Revelation is God's revealing his truth to mankind. Revelation, God making his truth known to mankind. Inspiration takes the next step. Inspiration is man's recording, receiving and recording divine truth in accurate form. God's making his truth known is revelation. Our receiving and recording truth so that it becomes scripture is inspiration. That is the recording of truth in an inspired manner. Illumination is our understanding and applying the truth in everyday life.
Listen to me. Revelation has ceased. Inspiration has ceased.
Illumination continues to go on. Our need as believers is not to find some source to give us God's revelation. Nor is it our desire to locate someone who is, quote, inspired of God through whom we can receive and record his message to us.
Our need is to get a hold of what has been written and apply it regularly. This is so basic, Chuck. People aren't doing that kind of stuff today.
Oh, if you think that, you're out of touch. Two weeks ago, I talked to a young woman who very definitely has this as the top priority of her days in college. Before I'm out of this Christian school, she named her school, I'm going to know if God really is still giving revelation or not. She has a number of friends who are getting, quote, God's message to them through various sources and almost without exception, they're messed up in some realm of their lives. The point I want to make and we'll make it from the scriptures in a moment is that God has given us his word in written form in the Bible. Finding God's message is not some cosmic guessing game. It is not a hide and seek riddle where God says, maybe you'll know it. Maybe you won't. You behave. I may reveal more to you today or more to you tomorrow. You stay with this person long enough and I'll give you my direction.
I'll give you my message. That's hogwash, which is Greek for nonsense that you don't rely on that kind of stuff. You rely on that.
I guarantee you, in a matter of weeks, you will be in error. You direct your life to the word of God. You draw your information from the scriptures and you have objective, reliable truth to live by. I've never had anyone say to me, because I relied on the word of God, I wound up in error. But I have had many say, because I didn't listen to the scriptures, I wound up off base. I got out of God's will. Peter is about to die.
His death is imminent, he says. And in light of that, he is concerned that his disciples, the followers of this apostle, would still know that there is truth they can rely on. What is it not? Verse 16, we did not follow cleverly devised tales. Muthos, we get the word myths from it.
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. There are ancient stories of Greek gods who have come to earth. There are current experiences of people who have said they have touched God, heard God, seen God, read God's message. Peter says, I was an eyewitness of my Lord's majesty. I was privileged to be present personally. I touched him. I saw him.
I was an eyewitness. More than that, I heard the voice of God. Verse 17, for when he, that's Christ, received honor and glory from God the Father, I heard this, such an utterance as this was made to him by the majestic glory. There's one of our favorite words, the majestic glory spoke.
I was on this mountain. We call it today the Mount of Transfiguration. And standing there with James and John, I heard a voice from heaven. And it said from the voice of the majestic glory, this is my beloved son with whom I am well pleased. Now you say, I thought we relied on the word of God.
I thought we didn't rely on voices and messages from, well, of course we do now. But scripture was not complete when Peter was on the Mount of Transfiguration. In fact, there was nothing written in New Testament scripture at the time. And when men spoke for God, they spoke ex cathedra. They spoke without error. They spoke from the very sacred presence of God. They became what was called an oracle of God. One of the marks of an apostle was the ability to speak God's message without error.
That day is over. No one speaks today without error. God's word declares truth without error, but spokesmen and women all over the country, even well-meaning people, like yours truly, will make mistakes, will make declarations that have to later on be thought through and have to say later, you know, I've thought that through. I'm not sure that that was said correctly.
I'm not sure I was right, having studied this a little further. But Peter heard God's voice in the presence of God the Son. He says in 18, we ourselves heard this utterance made from heaven when we were with him on the holy mountain. I thought about Moses in contrast to Peter. Moses met with God and God wrote his message. And it became the Decalogue, the moral code of life for the Jews.
Included in it were the Ten Commandments, directives for the tabernacle, how they were to live, high-genetical rules they were to follow so they could be free from the plagues, how they could live, how they could be healed, how they could walk in righteousness, how they could follow the cloud and the fire. God wrote his word in tablets of stone, those Ten Commandments on a mountain, Mount Sinai. On this mountain, God spoke his word. Peter says, I was there.
I heard it. Now, you might think Peter would then say, well, what we need to do then, readers, we need to wait for the voice of God to awaken us at night. Or we need to make those mountain climbs and we need to hear his message when we are there in the clear, crystal clear and clean air and there God will speak as he did in old time, but he doesn't say that. As a matter of fact, this passage that follows, 19 through 21, is second only to the passage that says all scripture is God-breathed on the subject of inspiration. This is the second most helpful passage on inspiration in all the scriptures.
Become a good student of this. This is a little more complicated than the 2 Timothy 3 passage, but it is equally reliable. Remember, this is the word of God. We have the prophetic word made more sure. Now, it took me a while when I was growing up to understand this passage because of the use of prophecy and prophetic. I had in mind the idea that it has reference and it's limited to just the prophetic books or it meant a truth concerning the future as we think normally of the word prophecy. When you see prophetic, think of scriptural. When you see prophecy, think of scripture. Just trust me on this.
I have studied this at length. When it says in verse 20, no prophecy is a matter of one's own interpretation, it has reference to statement of scripture. That's what Peter has in mind. Well, there's far more that Chuck Swindoll wants to show us in Peter's second letter. Chuck titled today's message, Be Sure of Your Source. Keep listening as this practical letter from the apostle continues.
You're listening to Insight for Living. To learn more about this ministry, visit us online at insightworld.org. Well, you might not be aware that Chuck provides a very special message.
Visit us online at insightworld.org. Well, you might not be aware that Chuck provides a variety of helpful resources that go beyond our topics on this daily program. For instance, did you know about the free daily devotional that comes directly to your inbox each day?
In this way, you can start or finish your day by spending a few minutes reflecting on God's word with Chuck. To sign up for the free daily devotional, go to insight.org. And a big thank you to all those who give generously to support Insight for Living.
Your partnership means more than you know, especially during the summer months when many families are away on vacation. We couldn't supply these daily Bible teaching programs without your consistent giving. I can assure you your gift will truly make a difference.
We have plenty of evidence through the hundreds of phone calls, emails and letters that come into Insight for Living every month. I just saw a brief note from someone who expressed their gratitude for Chuck's teaching and they're listening from the southern part of India. Your donations are used by God to touch lives all over the world and people from every walk of life and every age and every season. So as God prompts you to join the team and financially support this nonprofit ministry, we invite you to give us a call.
If you're listening in the United States, call 800-772-8888. Your gift, large or small, will make a difference for those who rely on this Bible teaching every day. To give online, go to insight.org.
I'm Bill Meyer, inviting you to join us next time when Chuck Swindoll continues our study about making wise decisions on Insight for Living. The preceding message, Be Sure of Your Source, was copyrighted in 1989, 1990, 2006 and 2011. And the sound recording was copyrighted in 2011 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights are reserved worldwide. Duplication of copyrighted material for commercial use is strictly prohibited.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-07-24 14:15:14 / 2023-07-24 14:24:32 / 9