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September 26, 2022 2:00 am
Wrong turn with me to the second Peter we are finishing up chapter 1, July 2 Peter will be reading verses 16 through 21.
We did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. We were eyewitnesses of his Majesty. For when he received honor and glory from God the father and the voice was born to him by the Majestic glory.
This is my beloved son, with whom I am well pleased. We ourselves heard this very voice born from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain.
We have something more sure. The prophetic word to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone's own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit is pray together. Father, we thank you that you have revealed herself through the written word through the living word and you have preserved your word for us. You have made it available to us in translation.
You have given this your spirit to illuminate and guide us into the truth of your word may we rest our lives on the truth that you have revealed we ask in Jesus name, amen may be seated by God's grace in mercy. I was born into a Christian family.
In fact, I'm told that for nine months before my birth. I was carried to the assembly of God's people, and that throughout my childhood and high school years I was privileged to sit on the teaching and preaching the gospel. I was encouraged to memorize the Scriptures to read the Bible to read the biographies of men and women of faith and to spend time with other believers. After high school I went off to college and though it was a church school.
I sent him the man who didn't really believe the word of God. My religion professor was a graduate of Yale University and the Bible was this subjected to what was called higher criticism. We were taught how to determine what parts of the Bible were true, what parts were added. Just thought up by man and I remember in times and then the student lounge. One confesses he was a typical stereotypical professor in the Orthodox you know the sweater and the pipe clenched in his teeth and he would say things like yes I believe in the virgin birth, but not because the Bible says so and that those kinds of things it would bring doubt so. A few years into my ministry.
I went through time, the governor God was taking me through a time of very intense growth in my faith and came to the realization that I was in Jesus words building my house on the sand.
I came to understand that I had no solid foundation and the Lord led me to receive the Bible as his word. I came to appreciate the truth of Ephesians 220 and the fact that the church is built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus is the cornerstone that ties it all together. That truth is reiterated in our passage were looking at tonight the foundation of our faith, our certainty, our assurance is grounded in the testimony of the apostles in the prophetic words of Scripture, and Jesus Christ is the center of it all. So as we begin to look at this passage tonight if you will notice the first phrase of verse 16 Peter says that he did not follow cleverly devised myths when he made known to us the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, that that word is said myths in the ESV some of the translations: fables, our faith is not grounded in fables. There are many fables prevalent in Peter's day and still true in our day is not. It's interesting that as Peter begins this section, he changes the pronoun in the earlier verses and read back in verse 12 he was using the first person singular. He said I intend always to remind you of these qualities I think is right.
As long as I'm in this body to stir you up. I know putting off my body will be soon and I will make every effort so that after my departure, you may be able at any time to recall these things. Then in verse 16 he says for we Laurel did not follow cleverly devised myths. I think he's identifying himself there with the apostles, he is asserting authority as an apostle, one who was an eyewitness one who was with Jesus and spent time with him and his message now is authoritative and so he's asserting this as he distinguishes his message from the fables of the false teachers fact later on in chapter 2 verse three is going to say they and their greed will exploit you with false words.
NIV translates that it influences with stories they've made up. Peter is distinguishing what he has to say from those who are teaching falsely fables are not just some ancient thing fables are part of our current meal you are. Pastor mentioned this morning one of the fables that he ran into in looking at what one had to say about the resurrection.
Peter uses this phrase cleverly devised myths or cunningly devised fables. Liberal scholars start out with presumption that denies the supernatural that denies the miraculous, and they tried to explain away the Old Testament, miracles and even the account of creation and the fall of man. I remember my first year in seminary.
In fact, I was in the same seminary that their pastor mentioned this morning for year and it was a bastion of liberality at the time he got to read a particular systematic theology book, I was given the option of reading one of two I could either read a no-brainer. Paul Tillich not known to be conservative's biblical scholars, but I remember in my Old Testament course. We had our midterm exam right before Thanksgiving break and we had yet to get to Genesis. We were still studying Gilgamesh in the Mesopotamian fables that they were's teaching that the Old Testament was based on the Hebrews borrowed from those stories to create. We now know as Genesis, but I think a far more credible assertion is that the pole makes in first chapter of Romans, and when he says man who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth all day. Then, although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking and their foolish hearts were darkened claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling man I don't mean to be arrogant or to be ugly and and demeaning judgmental toward other man but how can you be a professor of Christian religion. When you don't believe the tenets of Christian religion false teachers abound in our day just as it did in Peter's day.
They not only deny the creation the beginning of history, but they also deny the culmination then scoff at the culmination of history that God reveals in the word the return of Christ to establish his eternal reign in his kingdom. It was true.
In Peter's day. It's true today. In fact, over in chapter 3, Peter will point this out and warning about scoffers says they will say where is the promise of his coming. In fact, this is probably a doctrine that is as controversial as any doctrine as we look at that in our day, but Peter says we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. He's pointing to that second coming. In affirming the foundation of our faith in apostolic testimony, and in the word of God doctrine second coming.
There couple of extremes that we can get into with regard to the second coming, too many of us just ignore it and don't ever think about the second coming, not to be watchful as we should be there are others who just become obsessed with last things and and second coming. I remember when Libby and I were in the Dominican Republic mission field we had a missionary come to town Santiago and the first thing he did was to set aside a room in his house and he put his chart up.
He had three walls covered with his timelines and all the dates and nations. In the end he had not had it all worked out figured out the end times, but what does Scripture teach. We need to be solidly grounded in what picture the Scripture tells us about the second coming of Christ.
First thing it tells us is that Jesus will return. He will return and he return the same way when he would return bodily and visibly he will return and it will be sudden. We need to be watchful and alert his return will be glorious out. I love Paul John's description in revelation of the risen Christ and he says he saw one like a son of man, clothed with a long robe and with a golden sash around his chest. His hairs in his head right like white wool, like snow, his eyes were like a flame of fire. His feet were like burnished bronze, refined in a furnace in his voice was like the roar of many waters from his mouth came a sharp two-edged sword in his face was like the sun shining in full strength.
We cannot even begin to imagine the glory that will be revealed when Christ comes. And yet that is what Peter and the other apostles got a glimpse on the Mount of Transfiguration as the radiance of God's glory emanated from him. His return will be glorious and it will be the final triumph over evil.
He will set everything right. He will judge the quick and the dead, and when will it happen, nobody knows and Jesus said to his disciples that just the father knows that not even the son knows when that will be so as we think about the foundation of our faith.
We know that our faith is grounded in fact, not fables.
The apostles witnessed the majesty of the glory of Christ as Peter points to the transfiguration and speaks of that there with James and John saw a foreshadowing of Christ's return to glory your member Jesus prayer in John 17 verse five of John 17 he says now. Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed. They had a glimpse of that eternal glory and majesty of Christ and that will be manifest when he comes again and is revealed in all his glory so the apostles testified to the facts of what they had seen and witnessed and they were eyewitnesses. As Peter says, and so they gave testimony Christ and told them that they would be his witnesses. Remember, acts 118 says you shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem and Judea, Samaria, to the uttermost parts of the world in the book of acts tells us how they fulfill that and carry that out as a proclaim the good news all across Asia and into Europe and as far as Rome. So what were the facts that they declared about Jesus. They declare that Jesus is the son of God, equal with the father. They declared that he was born supernaturally of a virgin. They declared that he worked miracles made the blind to see the deaf to hear the lame to walk the mute to be able to speak. He turned water into wine heat for thousands with just a handful of bread and fish.
He called the sea and still the wind with just a word even raise the dead to life.
They declared that he was crucified. Did. And the third day he rose again and declared that he ascended into heaven, and that he sent the Holy Spirit to dwell within his people and he will come again in glory to establish his kingdom and complete and this the final triumph over evil. So our faith rests.
First of all, in the testimony and witness of the apostles apostolic testimony recorded for us in the pages of the New Testament, but Peter then goes on in verse 19 to say that there's something more sure than that apostolic testimony, he says in verse 19 we have something more sure. The prophetic word. Speaking of course of the Old Testament prophecies that declared what God would do in Christ when he came and so Peter is saying that even the glorious experience of being on the Mount of Transfiguration have seen Christ radiate glory of God. This word is even more sure than that we must be careful that we understand that our experience as glorious as it may be, is nothing compared to the certainty of God's word, that is our foundation.
I remember one time in church I was working in the educational area and overseeing some of the Bible school vacation Bible school in one of the ladies wanted us to do some really exciting, upbeat, wonderful kinds of things and to talk about how all this would really draw all people in and out of her mind.
Therefore John says about the fact that people saw miracles and ran to Jesus because of miracles, and yet it says that Jesus didn't reveal himself to them because he knew what was in their heart they were after the food and they were after the healing and they weren't really pursuing God because they were not of his so Peter says we have something that is even more sure than our experience are as glorious as it was and is nothing less than the word of God himself. The prophetic word. The Scriptures mentioned the fact that in the earlier verses. He had used this plural. We as he identified himself with the apostles.
I think here he's using. We in a different sense. He's speaking here of the fact that we are all part of the body. We are all together in the S&E says we have this this more sure word. I believe that's affirmative the fact that he goes on then to say, to which you do well to pay attention as including us in this certainty of the Scriptures that God has given to us. This word pay attention is interesting. It literally would be hold your mind to. The Scripture told her mind toward the Scriptures the world the flesh, the devil all try to distract us from the truth of what God said.
In fact, that has been the enemy's tactics since the Garden of Eden, hasn't he came even as it has God really say it did, did God really say in that distraction from the truth of what God has said is one of the primary tactics so we need to pay attention to what God has said in his word he says we are to pay attention as to a lamp shining in the darkness in our place.
We've all experienced what it's like being in a dark place and all of a sudden somebody turns on the light and you don't have any problem focusing your mind on the light when it comes in just almost blind you. That sudden brightness of the light. Peter uses this illustration to show us how diligently we should focus our mind on God's word he says you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place reminded of what Paul says in Philippians chapter 2 is talking about the believers dwelling in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, he says we are to shine like lights among those who are in darkness, holding forth the word of life.
We are to be a light in the dark place and we need to keep on doing that. Look at look at what he says here shine as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your heart.
How often in the early mornings I go out entire little closing breezeway there and that's where I spend time in the word and many times when I get out. Stitches pitch black. In fact, I feel, like a minute pitch: turn the light on some sometimes I'll pull the curtain across the glass there just cannot feel like I'm not in the fishbowl but before long you begin to get a glimmer of being able to see a little outside as the light comes and it grows and expands and pretty soon everything is brightly lit and it's full day and you can see and Peter says that we are to pay attention to the word of God as to a light shining in a dark place and we keep doing that. Keep at it until the day dawns and the morning star rises in its full day in the light of truth. Floods are so then he gives us caution in verses 20 and 21 we are to pay attention to the Scripture, but he says no. This first no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone's own interpretation. That's a verse that has been a matter of controversy, and in varying explanations and interpretations. Roman Catholics often will use that first to support their idea that people the common people of the of the church should not be reading Scripture on their own, they must depend on the teaching interpretation that the church gets a that it's dangerous for people to read the Bible on their own.
Don't think that's what it means. I do know that that Scripture talks about the difficulty of interpretation and understanding prophecy. In fact, Scripture even says back in first Peter that they the prophets themselves didn't really understand what they were writing. If you turn back over the first Peter first chapter of his first letter. Verse 10 he says concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be searched and inquired carefully, inquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories it was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you and the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven things into which angels long to look, understanding, prophecy is not an easy thing and is requires illumination. The spirit of God and his direction and guidance. But as we look at this verse here in in second Peter verse 20 of chapter 1 says. Knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone's own someone's own interpretation. It's a pretty good translation.
Some of the translations use the verb is is a matter of the word there in the Greek is the word beginner by it really has the idea of something arising or originating from coming out of a coming into existence and so I think that the US please pretty good translation there, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from or arises out of one's own interpretation, but I think that the cumulative to properly understanding this is to see that verse 20 is not isolated. It's part of the context and it leads right into verse 21 he says. Knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone's own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit, the we the reason no Scripture is of any one's own private interpretation is because it's of God is not a man.
We must understand that Scripture originates with God, not man, and therefore it is absolutely trustworthy.
So our faith is founded in apostolic testimony. It is founded in the prophetic word and Jesus Christ is the cornerstone that ties it all together. One of the ways that we know and understand that is through the fact that in Christ all this Old Testament prophecy was divinely fulfilled to the letter in every detail.
God's promises regarding that first advent were fulfilled in detail in Jesus Christ.
Let me just remind you of of some of the ways that the prophecy of the Old Testament was filled fulfilled in Christ. First of all prophecy told us what tribe he would come from the scepter shall not depart from Judah, the ruler's staff from between his feet, Genesis 4910.
We told even what family that tried the Lord swore to David assure oath one of the sons of your body will I sit on your throne. 132, told the place of his birth, but you owe Bethlehem who are too little to be among the clans of Judah from you shall come forth for me, one who is to be ruler in Israel, Micah chapter 5, we told his virgin birth, behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. Isaiah 7 we told about healings, then the eyes of the blind shall be opened.
The ears of the deaf unstopped then shall the lame man leap like a deer in the tongue of the mutual sing for joy. Isaiah 35.
We told the triumphal entry Zachariah rights rejoice greatly old daughter of Zion shall allow the daughter of Jerusalem. Behold, your King is coming to you humble, and mounted on a donkey and a cold fool of a donkey told details of his death, his burial, some 22 for dogs and compass me a company of evildoers encircles me.
They pierced my hands and feet.
They stare and gloat over me. They divide my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots again. Isaiah 53 they made his grave with the wicked with the rich man in his death, although he done no violence and there was no deceit in his mouth. God's promises were fulfilled in complete detail in that first advent in God's promises regarding the second coming will be just as certainly fulfilled. It's not a fable. It's not a myth. The apostles were willing to be to endure persecution even death to declare the truth of what they had witnessed in Jesus Christ, in the words of the prophets came to full fruition hundreds of years after they've been written in the church following the death of Christ.
Martyrs have withstood the ravaging of wild beasts, and in hand and beheaded and burned at the stake for the gospel's sake. Yet, despite all the opposition of the enemy and and the enemies of God. The church has flourished. What greater witness could we have been the fact that after all the persecution in the attempts to destroy him to tear down Jesus said not even the gates of hell can stand against his church. He will build and I just I was interested I just looked up today just to see what they professing faith is around the world. Christianity is still the largest greatest professed faith in the world over 30% of world population professed faith in Christ. The closest thing to it is Islam and it's like 24% as compared to 32%, so the church has flourished in spite of all the opposition is because we are grounded. Founded in truth, the Scriptures, no Scripture is ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God the Word of God is the word of God, and it is absolutely trustworthy.
It is true. The psalmist says that the word of God is like silver tried in a furnace seven times complete refined and purified so that there is nothing but truth and so by grace through faith we are in Christ and all the promises of God. All the promises of Scripture are found to be true in him.
As Paul says in second as they find their yes there a man in him, so we've heard the testimony of the eyewitnesses we have been given the written record of God's redemptive work. We know the reality of the church in the world today and so the question we face is this, do I believe what the Bible says that's the bottom line is the testimony credible for the promises of God to be trusted. Can you build your life on this foundation, remember the words of Jesus. After the sermon on the Mount.
He said everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock and the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock and everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. The rain fell in the floods came in. The winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell great was the fall building on building a sand you built on the rock foundation apostolic testimony prophetic word of God in Jesus Christ center of it all.
Spring father. We do not have words to express our gratitude for the word in the very beginning. You simply spoke, let there be light and it was spoken in our hearts have been filled with light, glory of God shining through the face of Jesus. Thank you father that you not only have given your word revealing yourself.
You have preserved it and you have made it accessible to us and you have given us your spirit to guide us into truth and disgrace center to trust your word. We ask in Jesus precious name