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Know Your Place and Position [2-25-24]




February 25, 2024

2 Peter 1:1-4

“Know Your Place and Position”


We left off last week with the possible consideration that Jude, working under the full knowledge and authorization of the Apostle Peter, wrote 2 Peter. There’s significant evidence to support that theory.


Before we move on to verses one through four, one last authorship consideration. And this point speaks to the beauty of how God reveals His truth to us, as well as the marvelous relationships this first generation of believers had.


It is also possible that, in composing his second letter, Peter had Jude’s letter in front of him. As we saw last week, there were too many common contact points to not make that connection. And the real beauty of that rests in the old cliché, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. If 2 Peter was written by Peter using Jude as a guide…think about it. Think about how the Lord led Peter to value Jude’s words. Think of how he must have thought Jude worthy of imitation. And here’s the deeper, relationally powerful element. Think about how much both Jude and James, the half-brothers of Jesus, were respected in the early church. Not only esteemed, but proved worthy of that esteem as they were used by God in a powerful way to share His Word.


So, to whomever we ascribe authorship, we know that his heart and mind were inspired by God. He had a profound personal relationship with Jesus Christ that we see in his words. Amen?


If we had started with 1 Peter, we would have learned that it was written to help suffering Christians. To help Christians facing persecution and hardship. 2 Peter takes a dramatic turn, following in the path of Jude, written to expose false teachers. Clearly the wickedness was either festering or had just blown up on the scene. However it happened, it needed to be addressed. False teachers were undermining the solid moral 

and theological teaching of the church. So 2 Peter entered the fray.


As we’ll see, this was such a pressing issue, that if it was the last thing he was going to do, Peter had to deal with it forcefully, directly, and without hesitation.


Listen to 2 Peter 1:13-15:

“I think it right, as long as I am in this body, to stir you up by way of reminder, since I know that the putting off of my body will be soon, as our Lord Jesus Christ made clear to me. And I will make every effort so that after my departure you may be able at any time to recall these things.”

How does that read to you? It almost sounds like part of a last will and testament. Before his time on earth here was up, he needed to warn these beloved believers about the doctrinal dangers they were facing. I love that about this letter.


Here’s what the church was up against. Remember, persecution and 

threats were swirling around them. That in itself was hard enough to deal with. But next you throw in persecution from the inside, in the guise of false teaching. These people were rabid in Biblical error and sexual immortality.


When I graduated from seminary and was ordained into the ministry, like many of my peers, I had an idealistic expectation of what life in the church would be like. I had just assumed that, once you became a member of a church, we’d all be on the same page, Biblically and theologically.


Now, I’m not talking about preferences. We’re all different in that regard. We have shared likes, but there are other things we don’t have in common. We work through those differences. What kind of music to listen to. Whether or not to consume alcohol. Some people fret over dancing or the kinds of movies to watch or books to read. We’ve all know those who considered anything Harry Potter to be the work of the devil. There are things that happen in the normal give-and-take of life reflective of preferences. I grew up in a family that decorated a lot for Christmas. You grew up in a family that didn’t. There’ no right or wrong, good or bad to 

that. It just is. I learned a woman once visited a church for the first time on the Sunday before Halloween. The pastor, kind and compassionate man that he was, encouraged the children, if they went Trick-or-Treating, to be careful. Have an adult with them. Watch for cars. And bring a flashlight. The first-time visitor was offended that Halloween was even mentioned. She did not come back. 


The only time problems happen is when we make preferences good or bad – right or wrong. Are you with me on that?


For a lot of us newly-minted pastors, Biblical and theological error caught us up short. I never imagined someone would believe in reincarnation. Or deny the bodily resurrection of Jesus. Or say that all religions lead to the same God. Or pick-and-choose what passages of Scripture to accept as true. I was naïve that way. I thought once people belonged to a church, we would all be on the same page as far as the essentials go.


I could not have been wronger.


With age and learning come wisdom. The issue wasn’t primarily about what people in the pews believed, accepted, or rejected. The issue was with what was being taught from the pulpit and in institutes of higher learning.


I am reminded here of a book that came out a while ago, “The Agony of 

Deceit.” Funny sidenote, it was published in 1990. My brain thinks of that 

as not too long ago. Yikes.


Anyway, the book is a collection of essays on how bad, substandard, and 

even misleading teaching infiltrates churches.


There is so much bad stuff out there. Prosperity gospel. Prosperity-lite gospel. Prosperity-adjacent gospel. Healing charlatans. The whole rainbow, alphabet, liberal reinterpretation of Scripture. The use of the Book of Revelation for whatever end-of-the-world, apocalyptic hobby horse someone is riding. There are even pastors and leaders and authors who major on the minors. In other words, elevating something to an essential that probably doesn’t belong there. No Christian should eat meat. You can’t be a Christian if you think the earth is millions of years old. It’s a mad, mad, mad, mad world out there.


In that regard, we’re facing the same things 2 Peter addresses. They even had spiritual grifters back then. The only difference, as I see it, is that they were also dealing with life-and-death threats from their culture. The martyrdom of believers was beginning. Church leaders were being killed. 

And so, on top of that, they also had to address corruption from the inside.


This was a challenge they faithfully addressed. Here is something you might want to write down:

THERE IS JOY IN SPEAKING BIBLICAL TRUTH.


And that’s exactly where 2 Peter is. There’s great joy in sharing Biblical truth. That’s what 2 Peter does to combat false…and we could even call it, wicked…teaching.


Here, now, is 2 Peter 1:1-4:

Simeon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ,

To those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ:

May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.

His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the 

corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.


First off, a rule of thumb when reading letters from this time period, whether Biblical or simply historical, is that the opening address will reveal the level of relationship or degree of friendship.


Here, we immediately notice he uses “Simeon,” the more familiar form of his name. This would have been the way Jesus or any member of Jesus’ family would have addressed him. “Simeon Peter.” It indicates affection between sender and receiver.

Second, “Simeon Peter” affirms that they stand on equal footing in the faith. He’s not talking down to them. The phrase translated as, “Having obtained a faith,” means to receive something that was one’s allotted portion.


How beautiful is that? Nothing earned or worked for or deserved. Peter is 

saying that through Christ, and Christ alone, we are in this together. We are going to grow together in our faith through this. This salvation we have in Christ is an inheritance we have been given in Christ, as promised by God. Remember, your name was written in the Lamb’s Book of Life from before the foundation of the world. This is the common ground upon which we stand with Peter.


Make no mistake. The faith we have been given comes from Jesus Christ. Here’s something worth remembering:

THE FAITH WE SHARE COMES FROM JESUS CHRIST, WHO IS NONE LESS THAN THE TRUE GOD AND SAVIOR.


That is all we need to know in order to stand firm under any kind of wicked 

or false teaching. Where does your faith in Jesus Christ come from? Is it through your own willful determination? Is faith a place you arrived at on your own? No…no…no. Right there in verse three Peter says that by His grace and mercy God gave us knowledge of Him. We remember, and Peter remembers what he heard Jesus say:

“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I 

give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand. I and the Father are one.”

  • John 10:27-30

And then there’s this:

“All mine are yours, and yours are mine, and I am glorified in them. And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one. While I was with them, I kept them in your name, which you have given me. I have guarded them, and not one of them has been lost except the son of destruction, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. But now I am coming to you, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves. I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth.”

  • John 17:10-19


God grants us faith to believe. God has chosen us to believe in His Son Jesus Christ. Jesus holds us and keeps us. Therefore, it is in the effective power of that calling by which we can withstand any kind of wickedness or false teaching.


Here’s something else you might want to write down:

JESUS HOLDS US FIRM AND FAST IN TRUE BELIEF.

He will not lose us to unbelief. Remember, he has called us to his own glory and excellence. It is the calling of Christ which secures us in our faith and holds us in our salvation.


Let’s close with what has been described as one of the most comforting 

things you’ll ever hear. I don’t know where it originally came from, but I 

couldn’t agree more:

“WHEN GOD PUT A CALLING ON YOUR LIFE, HE ALREADY FACTORED IN YOUR STUPIDITY.”


And together, the people of God said, “AMEN.”

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