"THE SECOND EPISTLE OF PETER"
The Foundation For Our Precious Faith (Acts 1:16-21)
1. We saw in our first lesson that this Second Epistle of Peter was
addressed to "those who have obtained like precious faith with us"
- cf. 2 Pe 1:1
2. We also pointed out that the "precious faith" is most likely the
personal conviction or trust in Jesus Christ one must have in order
to be pleasing to God
3. But upon what foundation does our "precious faith" in Christ rest?
a. Is it just "blind faith", or perhaps gullibility on our part?
b. While that may be the case for some, it is certainly not what the
apostles expected or even desired
4. Beginning with the first sermon on the Day of Pentecost, and
continuing throughout their preaching and teaching, the apostles
appealed to two lines of evidences upon which our faith is to
a. The testimony of apostolic eyewitnesses - e.g., Ac 2:32;
2 Pe 3:14-15; 2 Pe 5:30-32; 2 Pe 10:39-43; 2 Pe 13:30-31
b. The testimony of Old Testament prophecy - e.g., Ac 2:25-31;
Acts 3:22-24; Ac 10:43; 2 Pe 13:32-41; 2 Pe 17:2-3
5. Even in this Second Epistle, we find Peter referring to these "two
lines of evidence." As we consider the text for our study please read:
2 Pe 1:16-21
[This passage should help to reinforce the validity of our faith in
Jesus, as that which is based upon a solid foundation!
For example, let's consider more closely what Peter has to say
I. THE TESTIMONY OF APOSTOLIC EYEWITNESSES (Verses 16-18)
A. THEIR TESTIMONY WAS NOT "CUNNINGLY DEVISED FABLES"
1. Or to put it as found in other translations:
a. "We were not following cleverly devised legends" (Weymouth)
b. "For they were no fictitious stories that we followed"
c. "It was not on tales artfully spun that we relied" (NEB)
2. But as we shall see, if what they claim did not happen, this
is the only reasonable alternative!
a. Either they were telling the truth;
b. Or they were carefully and purposely fabricating lies!
B. THEIR TESTIMONY WAS THAT OF "EYEWITNESSES"...
1. They claimed to be "eyewitnesses" of what they made known
concerning Jesus' coming and power!
2. As "eyewitnesses" they could not have been deceived...
a. Their interaction with Jesus was too intimate
b. As Peter said to the household of Cornelius: "who ate and
drank with Him after He arose from the dead." - Ac 10:41
c. As John wrote in his first epistle: "...which we have
heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have
looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the
Word of life" - 1 Jn 1:1
C. A SAMPLE OF THEIR "EYEWITNESS TESTIMONY"...
1. Peter refers to the event that occurred at "The Mount of
Transfiguration" - cf. Mt 17:1-9; Mk 9:2-9; Lk 9:28-36
2. An event which depicted the power, majesty, honor and glory
3. Why this event as a sample of their testimony?
a. It certainly proclaims the majesty of Jesus
b. It certainly illustrates the nature of their testimony...
1) They "saw" Jesus transfigured before them, and joined
with Moses and Elijah
2) They "heard" the voice which came from the "Excellent
Glory" (God the Father)
4. The fact that this event, like many others in the life of
Jesus, was seen by a plurality of witnesses ("we were with
Him") serves to strengthen the force of their testimony
D. WHAT THIS MEANS...
1. Peter and the rest of the apostles really leave us with only
a. Either they were telling the truth about Jesus...
b. ...Or they did the very thing that Peter denied in this
passage ("follow cunningly devised fables")!
2. Which is more reasonable, to believe the apostles told the
truth, or were blatant liars, frauds, and deceivers?
a. In the context of the lives they lived, the suffering they
endured, the scriptures they left behind, there is only
one reasonable conclusion...
b. ...They were in fact "eyewitnesses of His majesty"!
[The foundation of our precious faith, then, rests upon the testimony
of the apostles. Even Jesus realized this would be the case (cf. Jn 17:20).
But there is even more that serves to support our faith in Jesus
II. THE TESTIMONY OF DIVINELY ORIGINATED PROPHECY (Vs 19-21)
A. "WE ALSO HAVE THE PROPHETIC WORD MADE MORE SURE"...
1. The reference here is to the prophecies of the Old Testament
a. Which bore witness to the coming Messiah -
e.g., Isa 9:6-7; Isa 53:1-12
b. To which the apostles often appealed in their efforts to
convince others that Jesus was the Christ - e.g., Ac 17:2-3
2. These prophecies have been "made more sure" by their very
fulfillment in Jesus!
a. Before their fulfillment, one could only hope such words
were really from God
b. In their fulfillment, our faith is not only strengthened in
the subject of such prophecies (Jesus Christ), but in the
origin of the prophecies themselves!
3. It is these fulfilled prophecies which serve to support our
B. "WHICH YOU DO WELL TO HEED AS A LIGHT THAT SHINES..."
1. Though fulfilled, Christians should still carefully study the
Old Testament Scriptures
2. Even as Paul commanded Timothy to do - 2 Ti 3:14-15
3. For their value is like "a light that shines in a dark place"
a. Like apostolic testimony, they help to confirm our faith in
b. They also help the Christian become "wise for salvation
through faith which is in Christ Jesus" - cf. 2 Ti 3:15
c. They are therefore a source for developing patience,
comfort and hope - cf. Ro 15:4
4. And they will serve such purpose "until the day dawns and the
morning star rises in your hearts"
a. A likely reference to the coming of our Lord, described by
John as "the Bright and Morning Star" - cf. Re 22:16
b. Whose coming will be seen by all ("every eye will see
Him"), but will be appreciated most fully "in the hearts"
of those who anxiously await Him!
C. UNDERSTANDING THE ORIGIN OF PROPHECY...
1. To appreciate the value of prophecy in supporting our faith,
it is important to know how prophecy originates
2. As Peter explains...
a. "no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation"
1) This phrase is difficult, and has been variously
a) "No prophecy of scripture is a matter of one's own
interpretation" (RSV; cf. KJV, NKJV, NASB, and JB)
b) "No prophecy of Scripture ever came about by a
prophet's own ideas" (SEB; cf. NIV)
2) I believe both the immediate context (v. 21) and the
remote context (1 Pe 1:10-12) of Peter's comments
support the latter translation (b)
b. "for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men
of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit"
1) This explains what Peter meant in verse 20
2) Thus the prophecies of the Old Testament were not the
views or concepts of mere men, but the expressions of
Spirit-inspired spokesmen for God!
3. Realizing this, their fulfilled prophecies serve to strengthen
a. Our faith in the Old Testament as the inspired word of God!
b. Our faith in Jesus as the Messiah, of Whom the inspired
1. Indeed, our faith is certainly "precious", because it rests upon the
weighty testimony of...
a. Apostolic eyewitnesses
1) Who saw and heard the things Jesus did
2) Who despite great suffering never recanted their testimony
b. Divinely inspired prophecy
1) Spoken in ages past by men moved by the Spirit of God
2) Confirmed to be true by their fulfillment
2. Such faith is not "blind", or "credulous", but a conviction based
upon solid evidence!
3. Is this the sort of faith in Jesus you have? It should be, for by
such faith you can have...
a. Eternal life - cf. Jn 20:30-31
b. Remission of sins - cf. Ac 10:43
But it must also be an obedient faith (cf. Ro 1:5; 6:17; 16:26), and
the first steps of faith are clearly outlined by Jesus and His
apostles... - cf. Mk 16:15-16; Ac 2:36-38
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