For this message we’re going to Peter’s second epistle. We are going to look at two portions of Scripture, one in the first chapter of II Peter and the other the first chapter of the Book of Revelation. I planned to only take about two verses of I Peter, but after looking at it and we may have to cover a little more than two verses.
One difficult thing for Christians to do is really to have a spiritual understanding of the Word and to really love it. I’ve heard people complain about the Old Testament; they say it’s just history and they just don’t get much out of it. The history gets boring. Well, when all you see is the history it can be boring. You can say the same thing for the New Testament, if you only see the history of the Early Church. We want to see a bit more than that because the Old Testament and the New Testament have the same basic message. It is not presented in the same way but it’s the same message. That is why Jesus told His disciples that it was necessary for them to have their understanding opened up. Then they would be able to find Christ in the Pentateuch, in the Psalms, and in the prophets because it was all about Him. He talked to the Pharisees about it and said, “If you can’t hear My word, you are not really understanding what Moses is saying because Moses spoke of Me” (John 5:46-47). We have to hear more than the actual words that are being spoken.
Jesus gave the parable of the Sower. Where the seed was sown determined what kind of harvest there would be. Of course, the Jews were agricultural people. They didn’t have any trouble understanding the principles of sowing, planting, and harvesting. Nevertheless, after giving the parable Jesus said, “If you have ears to hear, hear,” meaning if you have the ability to hear what is underneath the surface there is a special message that is being carried by the words and that is the life of the Lord Himself. If you are just reading history, just a mental understanding of what you’re reading, you will miss the life. There has to be something more there.
Peter talks about this. He realizes it is difficult for a person to hear something one time and be able to understand what really is being said. So it is necessary to hear it again and again and again and again and again. We’re going to see where he talks about that. That is important. So it’s not only important to keep hearing it over and over, it is important to keep reading it over and over. Let’s get started here and we will begin with verse 3 and we’ll work ourselves up to verses 12-15, because that’s where I really am heading.
II Peter 1:3 According as His divine power has given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness …
I wonder how many of us really catch what Peter is saying there. He is saying, “ALL things that pertain unto life and godliness HAVE BEEN GIVEN to us.” All of that is right here in these scriptures, if you can find them.
II Peter 1:3-4 …through the knowledge of Him who has called us to glory and
4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises that by these you might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
I don’t know how the religious world has missed seeing that. If we read it over and over a thousand times maybe we will realize, “Hey, God expects us to partake of His divine nature.” That means we should expect a nature change. Do you realize that much of Christianity doesn’t even teach that? And by partaking of His divine nature we escape the corruption that is in the world through lust (verse 4).
II Peter 1:5 And beside this, giving all diligence …You know diligence requires much effort. …add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge.
You see, faith by itself is not going to accomplish what you need. You have to add virtue to that faith. Then to that virtue you have to add knowledge, so faith and virtue by itself is not enough. You have to have some knowledge with it and we’re not talking about knowledge like you would receive at school or reading textbooks or whatever. We are talking about God’s knowledge.
II Peter 1:6 And to knowledge temperance …
And add to knowledge temperance, which means self-control. Have some self-control. Have some control over your self nature. If you don’t, you are not going to get anywhere with God.
II Peter 1:6 …and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness.
Patience is translated more accurately as “perseverance.” You will have to persevere. Why? Because there will be opposition to this. You don’t add these things like Peter is talking about here without having some opposition, so there’s going to be some perseverance. Diligence, great effort, and you’re going to need self-control, perseverance and add to that godliness. After all that you still need to add some godliness.
II Peter 1:7 And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.
Now, true kindness is not that easy to come by. I hear people say, “Well, that person is very kind,” or “She’s very kind,” or “They have a good heart.” That is not what Peter is talking about here. This is brotherly kindness and not just two brothers within a natural family. This brotherly kindness is talking about something that is a part of the divine nature, so brotherly kindness is something to be greatly desired. Then following that is charity. That’s an Old King James word that really waters it down. The Greek word there is agape which means love and it is not human love. It’s not any kind of love that you’ve ever experienced within your man nature. This is talking about divine love. Agape always speaks of divine love.
II Peter 1:8-9 For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that
you shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus
9 But he that lacks these things is blind, and cannot see afar off …
If you lack these things, then you are blind. When it says you can’t see afar off, it means you can’t see out of your own man-world into God’s world because there is a great distance there.
II Peter 1:9 … and you have forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.
This is not talking about people of the world here. Peter is talking about Christians. Christians, if you lack these things, you are blind and cannot see afar off, and you have forgotten how you were purged from your old sins.
II Peter 1:10-11 Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your
calling and election sure: for if you do these things, you shall never fall.
11 For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
How do we do that?
II Peter 1:12 Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things …
Peter says, “I’m going to keep reminding you and reminding you and I’m going to keep telling you and telling you over and over and over again.”
II Peter 1:12 … though you know them, and be established in the present truth.
Proverbs 13:12 says: Hope deferred makes the heart sick. There’s a spiritual application to that: Hope deferred makes the heart sick. If you are not experiencing the Lord in the present, a sickness moves in so that you only see the things of God in the past and in the future. If you are not advancing in what Peter is talking about in these things, your man nature will start moving God into the past and the next thing you know you are reading the Scriptures and only seeing what He has done and what He will do in the future. Then the present truths are hidden. But we want to be established in the present truths. All the truths of God, all the divine power that has been given unto us, all things that pertain unto life and godliness must be a present truth, not a truth of the past, not a truth of the future, but a present truth. Let me read that again.
II Peter 1:12-13 Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in
remembrance … that is, to keep reminding you of these things … though you know
them, and be established in the present truth.
13 Yea, I think it meet, as long as I am in this tabernacle …
Peter is telling them, “Guys, I’m going to leave this old world. I’m going to die and I won’t be here to teach you and I’m telling you over and over and over and over and over again now so that you will remember.
II Peter 1:13-14 … to stir you up by putting you in remembrance.
14 Knowing that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus Christ has showed me.
We know that Peter was martyred, and he realized he had a limited amount of time that he could teach these people whom he loved so much. He was determined to teach them over and over and over again so they would remember. He knows that old human nature, what people are like, and unless they keep hearing it, keep hearing it, keep hearing it, they will forget it. They say when you learn a new language, for example, you either use it or you lose it.
II Peter 1:14-15 Knowing that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle, even
as our Lord Jesus Christ has showed me.
15 Moreover I will endeavor that you may be able after my decease to have these things always in remembrance.
“I want to minister this thing to you so much until after I’m gone you’ll remember it. When I’m not here to remind you what you need to know, it’s going to be written upon your heart.”
In Jeremiah 31:33 the Lord says, “I will write My words upon your heart.” That isn’t done in a skinny second. I’ll tell you how the Lord writes things upon your heart: by having a man of God speak a living Word over and over again so that you hear it over and over. Then it is written upon your heart.
Paul says, “We have this ministry of writing the Word upon your hearts, making you the epistles of Christ” (II Corinthians 3:1-3). It’s not like you sit down and write something on a piece of paper, “There it is.” No, this writing upon the heart has to be over and over and over and over again so that it doesn’t ever leave that heart. Do you understand what I’m saying? This is important. It is important for you to hear the present truth. It is not so important for you to hear what God did in the past or what He’s going to do in the future. What is important is that you hear when He is speaking it, right now, that what God did in the past becomes a present truth to you and what He is going to do in the future, that also has to be a present truth to you.
Now, let’s go to Revelation 1, the first three verses of the first chapter.
Revelation 1:1 The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto Him, to show unto His servants things which must shortly come to pass; and He sent and signified it by His angel unto His servant John.
Now, quite plainly, what John tells us in this first verse is that the Book of Revelation is a revelation of Jesus Christ. Its purpose is not to be a revelation of the antichrist or a revelation of Babylon or a revelation of anything else. It is a revelation of Jesus Christ. You want to be careful that you don’t let your thinking slop over into some negative things.
“But don’t we need to know about the antichrist?”
Oh yeah, and the best way to learn about the antichrist is to learn to know the true Christ. Once you really know the Lord you won’t have any trouble recognizing something that is not of Him, because you’re going to be exposed to His presence and exposed to His presence and exposed to His presence by somebody like Peter or Paul who will keep telling you and keep speaking the Word and keep writing it upon your heart until it becomes a real living reality to you. This same thing could be said for ever other book of this Bible. Every book of the Bible has one purpose: to bring to you a revelation of Jesus Christ. That’s it, and that is what you should be looking for.
Revelation 1:2-3 Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of
Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw.
3 Blessed is he that reads, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.
Blessed is he that reads. So just reading the words even with a mental understanding is not what it is talking about. There’s a particular Greek word that is translated “read” here, anaginosko. What that word means literally, a word-for-word translation from the Greek, would be “to know accurately again.” In other words, you read one time and you get the natural understanding of what’s being said. Then you read it again, you read it again, and you keep reading it again and pretty soon you’ll know it accurately. You begin to see the things that are written underneath. It’s kind of like what Peter was talking about. “I’m going to tell you and I’m going to tell you again and again and again and again until you to know,” but to know accurately again.
When you read the Scriptures, look past the history to the mystery. Read it again and get the mystery. Hear it again. Hear again the words of this prophecy, that means to hear the life.
Peter believed very much in this. He knew his life was going to be short and he couldn’t waste time. So he had to present the present truth to them over and over and over again. I encourage everyone to read the books and read them again and read them again. Listen to the messages and listen to them again and again. That’s the reason we put the audio messages on the webpage so that you can download them and you can listen to them over and over. After you’ve heard it a couple dozen times, who knows? You may start really hearing it. That’s important, very important. Amen.
Copyright © 2009 by Henry DuBose