The Foundation of Faith: What Are You Adding to Your Faith?

Today’s selected reading is found in the second New Testament epistle which was written by the apostle Peter—one of the original twelve disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ. More specifically, today’s passage is found in chapters one through three of this New Testament book. “Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ: Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord” (2 Peter 1:1-2). As you begin reading the words which are found within this epistle you will immediately be struck with and by the fact that when Simon Peter began this epistle he began—not with the name Jesus had given him, which was Peter, but rather with the name we originally find him associated with in the gospels. Upon reading the opening verses of this second epistle written by the apostle you will find that when he introduced himself—although he did indeed and did in fact introduce himself as a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, he introduced himself as Simon Peter. Upon reading the four gospel narratives which are found at the beginning of the New Testament you will find that prior to Jesus encountering Simon at the sea of Galilee and instructing both he and his companion to follow Him, he was known as Simon. Throughout his entire life he would have been known as Simon, and would have been known as such to his wife, to his mother-in-law, and to all those who knew him as such. In all reality, I can’t help but find this epistle to be absolutely remarkable and astonishing when you take the time to think about it, for I am convinced that not only is it written from a place of transformation, but it is also written from a place of revelation. There is ont a doubt in mind that when reading the words which are found in this epistle we are directly confronted with the powerful and incredible truth that when this apostle of Jesus Christ wrote this epistle he was writing it from a place of personal revelation—a revelation which would not only come at Caesarea Philippi, but also a place of revelation that would come atop the mountain when Jesus brought him, as well as James and John with him. I am absolutely and completely convinced when reading the words which are found within this epistle that we must needs recognize and understand that it was written from a place of restoration, it was written from a place of transformation, and it was written from a place of revelation. It is with this in mind I would like to present you with four distinct events and occurrences within the life of Simon also called Peter as they were presented before and unto us within the four gospels:

            “When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Then charged he his disciples that they should tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ” (Matthew 16:13-20).

            “And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart, and was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the light. And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with him. Then answered Peter, and said unto Jesus, Lord, it is good for us to be here: if thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacle; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias. While he yet spake, behold, a bright bloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him. And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their face, and were sore afraid. And Jesus came and touched them, and said, Arise, and be not afraid. And when they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no man, save Jesus only. And as they came down from the mountain, Jesus charged them, saying, Tell the vision to no man, until the Son of man be risen again from the dead” (Matthew 17:1-9).

            “And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: but I have prayed for thee, that they faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren. And he said unto him, Lord, I am ready to go with thee, both into prison, and to death. And he said, I tell thee, Peter, the cock shall not crow this day, before that thou shalt thrice deny that thou knowest me” (Luke 22:31-34).

            “So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs. He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou  me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep. He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep. Verily, verily, I say unto thee, When thou wast young, thou girdest thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not. This spake he, signifying by what death he should glorify God. And when he had spoken this, he saith unto him, Follow me. Then Peter, turning about, seeth the disciple whom Jesus loved following; which also leaned on his breast at supper, and said, Lord, which is he that betrayeth thee? Peter seeing him saith to Jesus, Lord, and what shall this man do? Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? Follow thou me. Then went this saying abroad among the brethren, that that disciple should not die: yet Jesus said not unto him, He shall not die; but, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee?” (John 21:15-23).

            It is absolutely necessary and imperative that we recognize and understand the words which are found within these various passages contained in the gospels, for the words found within them bring us face to face with certain defining moments within the life of this apostle and servant of Jesus Christ. When writing this second epistle unto his audience he did something rather unique, for he began the epistle—not only with the name that he was given at birth, but also the name which Jesus had given him. Essentially we might very well be able to say that what Peter did here at the beginning of this epistle is combine the two names he had—the one given upon his natural birth, and the one given unto him by Jesus at what might very well be considered a spiritual birth. The apostle Peter would begin and open this epistle including both names which he had, and both names which he would be known by—not only among the apostles, but also among the brethren. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this, for if we would attempt to understand the words which are contained within this epistle we must needs recognize that it was written from a place of transformation, it was written from a place of revelation, it was written from a place of restoration, and it was written from a place of intercession. REVELATION! RESTORATION! TRANSFORMATION! INTERCESSION! You cannot read the words which are found within the four gospel narratives of the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ and not be brought face to face with the awesome truth that there were certain moments within his life when he would experience and encounter those things which would radically shape him into the apostle and servant of the Lord Jesus Christ.

            In all reality, I have to admit that I absolutely love how the apostle Peter included “Simon” when beginning and opening this epistle—and not only how he included “Simon,” which was his name by birth, but also how he referred to himself as an apostle and servant of the Lord Jesus Christ. In order for us to truly understand that which enabled him to be both a servant and an apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ we must needs recognize and understand that his being and his becoming an apostle of Jesus Christ did not come without and apart from certain distinct events which took place within his life. You cannot read the gospel narratives and discover and uncover certain key events which took place in the heart and life of this disciple of Jesus which would later be transformed into an apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ. The various passages I presented you with at the beginning of this writing highlight four of those events which took place within the life of Simon Peter—the revelation he received from God the Father concerning the identity of Jesus, the vision of Jesus transfigured atop the mountain speaking with Moses and Elijah, the declaration and warning of Satan desiring to have him that he might sift him as wheat, and Jesus’ three times asking Simon if he loved him. We dare not and must not miss the incredible importance of these events, for when we come to this second epistle written by the apostle and servant of Jesus Christ we encounter him writing from a place of revelation. In fact, I am absolutely and completely convinced when reading the words found in this passage of Scripture that the truest and best way to understand the words which are found within it is through the lens of those encounters Simon Peter experienced within his time walking with and following the Lord Jesus Christ. It’s actually quite intriguing to read the words which are found within these passages and uncover that they were events which took place while Simon Peter was physically walking with and following the Lord Jesus Christ. We dare not and cannot miss and lose sight of this absolutely incredible truth, for it helps us to understand the place this apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ was writing when penning the words in this epistle.

            The more I think about and consider the words which are found within this epistle the more I am brought face to face with the truly awesome and powerful truth that this apostle and servant of the Lord Jesus Christ was indeed and was in fact writing from a place of remembrance—writing from a place of reflection upon his time walking with and following the Lord. In fact, it is within the first and opening chapter of this second epistle you will even find the apostle writing concerning one of those experiences and encounters he had while walking with and following the Lord. This epistle is written from a place of revelation—and not only a place of revelation, but also a place of encounter—as Simon also called Peter would seek to demonstrate the absolute authority within the word of God. The words in this epistle are meant to directly combat false teaching and false doctrine that was present in the midst of the churches during those times. That which the apostle Peter sought to do was write from a place of revelation as he most certainly recalled the encounter with James and John atop the mountain, and remembered the vision and encounter he had with the transfigured Christ. This second epistle was entirely and altogether different from the first epistle, for it would be in the first epistle Simon Peter would write unto strangers and pilgrims in the earth who were not only scattered abroad among the nations of the earth, but who were suffering, who were struggling and who were afflicted. It would be in the first epistle Simon Peter would write that he would seek to provide encouragement, strength and support for and unto the brethren which were not only scattered abroad within and throughout the earth, but who were also suffering tremendous affliction, opposition, tribulation, conflict, and trouble. Those words which are found in the first epistle bring us face to face with an apostle seeking to encourage and instruct those who were scattered upon the face of the earth and were walking through intense periods of suffering, affliction, adversity, trial and tribulation.

            The second epistle which the apostle Peter wrote would not be written so much to provide encouragement in the midst of suffering, but rather wisdom, knowledge, and understanding in the face of false doctrine and in the face of false teaching. You cannot read the words which are presented before us in this passage of Scripture and not be brought face to face with the fact that this apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ was indeed and was in fact writing unto a people who were contending with widespread and rampant deception during those days. The words which the apostle Peter write within this epistle must be absolutely and entirely understood as being means of warning the saints and servants of God in the face of tremendous deception that would be present during those days. At the very heart and foundation of this epistle was indeed the apostle Peter remembering and recalling his time upon the mountain with James and John when the Lord was transfigured before them and appeared in a glory similar to that which he had in the beginning with the living and eternal God. The apostle Peter—when writing the words which are found in this passage of Scripture—sought to write from this particular place of revelation that he might from that place warn the saints and servants of God concerning the deception that would be present during those days. In fact, the entire second chapter of this epistle would be dedicated and devoted to warning and words of caution concerning false teachers, false apostles and false prophets which had risen up during those days, and which would rise up in the days which lie ahead. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of the words which are found within this epistle, for the words found here not only directly confront our need for godliness in this life, but also our need for discernment in the midst of false doctrine and false teaching which was rampant in the midst of the churches during those days. The apostle Peter would initially write and speak concerning the need for godliness, and how the living and eternal God has indeed and has in fact given us all things pertaining to life and godliness. Before we delve into the apostle Peter remembering and recalling that encounter and experience he had with Jesus atop the mountain we must needs think about and consider the words which are found in the first chapter beginning to read with and from the first and opening verse:

            “According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue; whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins” (2 Peter 1:3-9).

            The more I read the words which are found in this second epistle which was written by the apostle Peter the more I can’t help but be absolutely struck with the fact that he was writing unto the saints and brethren which were scattered abroad throughout the nations of the earth. The saints and brethren at that time were consistently and constantly being bombarded with and by false teaching and false doctrine which was being propagated and perpetrated by false teachers, false prophets and false apostles. There is not a doubt in my mind that what we find within this passage of Scripture is not only a call to godliness, but also a call to diligently strive to ensure that they were secure in their walk with the Lord Jesus Christ. The apostle Peter doesn’t immediately begin with warning them concerning the false teaching and false doctrine, but instead appeals to them as those who have desperate need of godliness within the earth. The apostle Peter wrote unto these dear saints and brethren concerning the divine power of the living and eternal God which had given, provided unto and afforded them all things which pertained to life and godliness—and not only this, but through the knowledge of Him that called us to glory and virtue. In addition to this, we find the apostle Peter writing unto these saints and calling them int a place whereby they were partakers of the divine nature which was to be experienced by and manifested among and within them. As you read the words found in the opening chapter of this epistle you will indeed find that it is by the divine power of God that we have been given all things which pertain to life and godliness, and it is according to the exceeding great and precious promises that we might be partakers of the divine nature. THE DIVINE NATURE! LIFE AND GODLINESS! How absolutely wonderful it is to not only think that we have been given everything we need for life and godliness, but according to the great and precious promises we have been given the ability to be partakers of the divine nature. Not only this, but we have been given the ability to escape the corruption that is in the world through lust by and through our being partakers of the divine nature which is manifested and at work within us. WE dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this awesome and powerful truth, for it brings us face to face with three great needs within our lives—namely, obtaining godliness according to the divine power of God, being partakers of the divine nature according to the exceeding great and precious promises, and escaping the corruption that is in the world through lust.

            I sit here today thinking about and considering the words which are found within this second epistle written by the apostle Peter and I am brought face to face with the tremendous truth that when he wrote these words, he was writing from a tremendous place of remembrance within his life. I am absolutely and completely convinced that when the apostle Peter wrote this second epistle he looked back upon his life—and not only looked back on his life, but also looked back at those encounters and experiences he had while walking with and following the Lord Jesus Christ. I continue to be amazed with the fact that when and as the apostle Peter wrote this epistle he wrote from a powerful place of transformation, revelation and restoration. It would be at Caesarea Philippi the apostle Peter would experience revelation—and not only revelation, but also transformation, as he would receive revelation from God the Father concerning the identity of Jesus as the Christ and the Son of the living God. It would be here in this place he would experience transformation through revelation, for it would be as a direct result of the revelation the Father had given unto him he would hear Jesus emphatically declare unto him that his name would no longer be called Simon, but would now be Peter. It would be there at Caesarea Philippi the apostle Peter would indeed experience revelation concerning the Lord Jesus Christ, and would indeed experience transformation as a direct result of that revelation. What makes this even more intriguing and powerful is when you think about and consider the fact that shortly thereafter the apostle Peter would experience further revelation, as he—together with James and John—would be brought atop a mountain where they would witness and behold Jesus the Christ being transfigured before them. There atop the mountain Simon also called Peter would witness Jesus being transfigured before their faces, and His face shining brighter than the sun. Not only this, but it would be there atop the mountain Simon Peter would experience Jesus talking and speaking Moses and Elijah, as well as hearing the voice of the living and eternal God proclaiming that this was His beloved Son in whom He was well pleased. Moreover, the apostle Peter—together with James and John—would hear the heavenly Father speak unto and instruct them to hear and listen to the words which Jesus the Christ would indeed and would in fact speak unto them.

            It is with this in mind I invite you to consider if you will the words which are found in the first and opening chapter of this epistle, for the words which are found here in the opening chapter we find the apostle Peter writing unto them concerning that which he experienced upon the mountain in the company and presence of James and John. We must needs pay close attention to the words which are found within this passage of Scripture, for it helps to highlight and underscore how the apostle Peter opened the epistle—and not only how he opened the epistle, but also the general and overall purpose of the epistle. As you read the words which are found in this portion of the opening chapter you will find the apostle Peter writing unto the saints which were and which had been scattered abroad among the nations, lands and peoples of the earth. Consider if you will the following words which are found in the first and opening chapter beginning to read with and from the twelfth verse:

            “Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and be established in the present truth. Yea, I think it meet, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up by putting you in remembrance; knowing that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath shewed me. Moreover I will endeavour that ye may be able after my decease to have these things always in remembrance. For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount. We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: knowing this first, that no prophesy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost” (2 Peter 1:12-21).

            The words which are found within this portion of Scripture must be carefully understood when attempting to understand the epistle as a whole, for within this section of Scripture we find the apostle Peter recalling—not one, but two of the encounters he had with the Lord Jesus Christ. It is as you read the words which are found in this passage of Scripture you will be brought face to face with the absolutely incredible truth that surrounds the apostle Peter writing from a place of remembrance—and not simply a place of remembrance, but also a place of remembrance. We dare not and must not miss and lose the tremendous weight and significance of what is found within these verses, for that which we find within these verses are a wonderful and powerful picture of the encounters and experiences Simon had with the Lord Jesus Christ. What’s more, is that it is as you read the words located in this portion of the opening chapter of the epistle written by Simon Peter you will find him referring to the words which the Lord Jesus Christ spoke unto him concerning the death he would die—and not only the death he would die, but also the death in which he would glorify the living and eternal God. It is also within this passage of Scripture you will find the apostle Peter recounting the experience he had atop the mountain when he witness and behold the transfigured Christ before his eyes. It’s interesting and worth noting that when you read the words which are found in this passage you find the apostle Peter writing of that experience on the mount that on the mount—that experience when he witnessed and beheld Jesus be bestowed with great glory, honor and splendor by and from the Father.

            Pausing for a moment and speaking to that encounter upon the mountain I find it absolutely incredible to think about and consider the fact that the first time the heavens would be opened unto Jesus would be when He came forth from the waters of the Jordan River. It would be after John the Baptist had baptized Jesus in the Jordan River that the heavens would be opened, a voice would speak from heaven and declare that this was the beloved in Son in whom the Father was well pleased, and the Holy Spirit would descend upon Jesus there in the waters of the Jordan. What makes it interesting is when you think about and consider the fact that when Jesus was on the top of the mountain with Simon also called Peter, James and John, the heavens would once more be opened—and not only would the heavens be opened, but the voice would speak from heaven. Not only this, but in addition to the heavens being opened once more, and in addition to the heavenly Father speaking from heaven declaring Jesus to be His beloved Son, there would be two distinctions. At the Jordan River the Holy Spirit would descend upon Jesus in the bodily form of a dove, while atop the mountain there would be no Holy Spirit descending, however, there would be the divine glory which Jesus had with the Father in the beginning being bestowed upon Him. Not only this, but it would be there atop the mountain Moses and Elijah would appear speaking with Jesus the Christ—and not only speaking with the Lord Jesus Christ, but also speaking with Him in that glorified and majestic state. What makes this encounter and experience all the more captivating and intriguing is when you think about the fact that on this occasion—not only would Jesus be clothed with glory, and not only would the Father instruct those atop the mountain to hear Him, but so also would Jesus appear speaking with those who represented the law and the prophets. It is truly something absolutely fascinating to think about and consider just how incredibly this experience and encounter would have been for Simon Peter, as well as the brothers James and John, as they would behold Jesus in a measure of the glory He had with the Father, and would hear the voice of the Father speaking unto them declaring Jesus to be His beloved Son in whom He was well pleased, and that they ought to hear and listen to Him.

            I absolutely love how the apostle Peter—when writing the words which are found in the second epistle written unto the saints and brethren which were scattered abroad—would make mention of this encounter which he had atop the holy mount with Jesus the Christ, for although this was indeed an incredibly glorious, marvelous and wonderful encounter and experience with the Lord Jesus Christ, the apostle Peter would go on to declare that they had a more sure word of prophecy. Despite the fact that he witnessed and beheld the Father bestow glory, honor and majesty upon the Lord Jesus Christ there upon the mountain, the apostle Peter would write that there was indeed a more sure word of prophecy—one which they ought to take heed as unto a light which sines in a dark place. Moreover, the apostle Peter would also write and emphatically declare that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation, and how prophecy came in old time—not by the will of man, but as holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. Oh we must needs pay close and careful attention to the words found in this narrative, for essentially that which the apostle Paul was doing was writing from a place of revelation, and using that revelation to invite his readers and his hearers into a place where they would come to learn, come to know, and come to understand the prophetic word that was and has been spoken. The apostle Peter would write this particular epistle from a place of experience and encounter as he would be an eyewitness unto the divine glory and majesty which the heavenly Father would bestow upon Jesus atop the mountain. The apostle Peter would make known unto the saints and brethren the power and coming of the Lord Jesus Christ because they were indeed eyewitnesses of His majesty—majesty and honour that was bestowed upon Him when God the Father bestowed honour and glory in the midst of the voice which would speak forth from heaven.

            Perhaps one of the greatest truths I absolutely love about the words which the apostle Peter wrote in this epistle is when you think about and consider the fact that he was writing from a place of remembrance—a place where he remembered that which he had experienced with the Lord Jesus Christ. The apostle Peter remembered the encounter which he had together with James and John when the Lord Jesus received glory, honor and majesty from the Father atop the mountain. The apostle Peter remembered seeing, witnessing and beholding the glory and honor that was bestowed upon the Lord Jesus Christ, and he remembered hearing the voice that would speak from heaven declaring this Jesus to be His beloved Son in whom He was well pleased, and then instructing them to hear Him. What makes this all the more intriguing is when you think about the fact that when writing this epistle Simon Peter wrote and confirmed how James, John and himself heard the voice of the Father speaking from heaven, and I would even contend and argue that they heard exactly what the voice of the Father had said and spoke concerning the eternal and only begotten Son. It would be from this place of revelation the apostle Peter would write this epistle—and not only write this epistle, but also make known the power and coming the Lord Jesus Christ. What’s more, is that as you read the words which are found within this epistle you will come face to face with the incredibly powerful truth that the apostle Peter sought to write from this place of revelation as he remembered and recalled hearing the voice of the Father speaking from heaven, as well as witnessing and beholding the glory, honor and majesty that would be bestowed upon the Lord Jesus. It’s something worth thinking about and considering when reading the words which are found in this passage of Scripture that not only would the apostle Peter receive revelation from the Father concerning Jesus being the Christ and the Son of the loving God, but the apostle Peter would also witness and behold the glory of the Son atop the mountain together with hearing the voice of the Father speaking concerning the Son.

            If there is something we must needs realize and recognize when reading the words which are found within this epistle that not only would Simon Peter receive revelation from the Father concerning Jesus being the Christ and the Son of the living God, and not only would Simon Peter witness and behold the glory of the Son atop the mountain together with the voice of the Father once more confirming Jesus as His beloved Son, but the apostle Peter would also be among those who would witness and behold Jesus after He had been raised from death to life. Even the apostle Paul—when writing concerning the resurrection of Jesus the Christ—would write concerning Simon and how Jesus would make Himself known and reveal Himself unto him after He had been raised from death to life. Even Jesus Himself—after He had been raised from death to life would give instruction unto the women to go and tell the brethren that He had risen, and especially Simon called Peter. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of the fact that Simon Peter—in addition to receiving revelation from the Father concerning Jesus being the Christ and the Son of the living God, and in addition to witnessing and beholding the glory and majesty of the Son while hearing the voice of the Father speak unto James, John and him, so also would he be one of those who would witness the resurrected Jesus over a period of forty days as Jesus showed Himself alive with many infallible proofs. What’s more, is that Simon Peter would also undoubtedly be among those who would witness and behold as Jesus would ascend into heaven where He would eventually and ultimately be seated at the right hand of the Father who was seated upon the throne in heaven. Pause and think about the tremendous place of revelation Simon Peter would indeed preach and write from, for He would receive revelation from the Father concerning the identity of Jesus, He would witness and behold the glory of Jesus, He would hear the voice of the Father speaking from heaven, and he would also an eyewitness of the resurrected Jesus the Christ, as well as His ascension unto the right hand of the Father.

            BUT THERE WERE FALSE PROPHETS ALSO AMONG THE PEOPLE! EVEN AS THERE SHALL BE FALSE TEACHERS AMONG YOU! BEWARE OF FALSE TEACHERS! BEWARE OF THOSE WHO CAN AND WILL SEEK TO MISLEAD YOU! BEWARE OF THOSE WHO WILL SPEW FALSE DOCTRINE AND FALSE TEACHING! BEWARE OF THOSE FALSE APOSTLES AND TEACHERS WHO COME AS WOLVES IN SHEEP’S CLOTHING! BEWARE OF THOSE WHO WILL SEEK TO MISLEAD AND DECEIVE YOU! BEWARE AND LET NO MAN DECEIVE YOU! MANY FALSE PROPHETS WILL RISE UP IN MY NAME!

            If there is one thing that so astonishes and amazes me about the contrast between the first and second epistles the apostle Peter wrote it’s that in the first epistle the apostle sought to write unto strangers and pilgrims in the midst of the earth who were suffering and who were walking through intense affliction, adversity, and perhaps even persecution. We cannot and must not miss this truly incredible and intriguing truth, for in the first epistle the apostle Peter sought to provide encouragement and instruction to a people who were walking through a manifold temptation and the testing and trying of their faith within and upon the earth. It was unto these individuals the apostle sought to encourage them in the midst of their struggle and in the midst of their suffering—not only through individual instruction, but also speaking unto them concerning their standing first and resisting the enemy and adversary who sought to devour and destroy them. In fact, when writing unto the saints and servants of the most High God who were suffering and struggling in the midst of the earth the apostle Peter wrote and instructed them to resist the enemy standing firm and steadfast in their faith knowing that the same afflictions were being accomplished in their brethren within and throughout the world. Oh you cannot read the words which are found in the first epistle written by the apostle Peter and not be brought face to face with the fact that at the time of the writing of that epistle the Church and spiritual body of Christ had effectively moved within, throughout and upon the face of the earth as it would be manifested within and throughout much of what was known as Asia and Europe during those times. As surely and as much as the Roman Empire and army was moving within and throughout the known world conquering and subduing nations, lands and peoples that they might be brought under Roman rule, so also would there be the manifestation of the kingdom of heaven in the midst of the earth. How absolutely incredible it is to think about and consider the awesome and powerful truth that at the same time Rome was moving and advancing throughout the earth as they continued to increase their dominion and authority upon the earth, so also would the gospel move and spread within and upon the earth. Not only this, but the kingdom of heaven would begin to move within and upon the face of the earth as it would establish and set up the dominion and authority of the living God within and upon the face of the earth. Although these saints were scattered among the nations of the earth they would indeed be the manifestation of the spiritual body of the Lord Jesus Christ within and upon the earth among the nations—and this beyond simply Jerusalem, Judaea and Samaria.

            As you read the words which are found in the second epistle written by the apostle Peter you will find him writing unto a people who were in the thick and the throws—not necessarily of suffering, adversity, affliction and persecution (although they would have undoubtedly still been walking through this in the earth), but of deception, false doctrine and false teaching. If the first epistle was written unto a people concerning how they ought to live in the face of suffering, adversity and affliction, the second epistle was written to address the saints and brethren living and walking in this life with the threat of intense deception, false doctrine and false teaching. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this, for while the first epistle was written to instruct and guide men and women how they ought to live in the midst of suffering and affliction—the second epistle was written on how men and women ought to live in the midst of, and in the face of deception, false teaching, and false doctrine. It is for this very reason I am absolutely and completely convinced that as the apostle Peter began and opened up this epistle he wrote unto the saints and brethren concerning the divine power which had been made available and which had given us all things pertaining to life and godliness. The apostle Peter—when seeking to instruct and guide men and women on how they ought to live in the face of rampant deception—would write and speak of the exceeding great and precious promises which through them they might be partakers of the divine nature, and to escape the corruption that is in the world through lust. Taking this a step further you will find the apostle Peter writing unto the saints and brethren, and speaking unto them concerning their faith, and that which needed to be added to it, and that which needed to be built upon it. The apostle Peter would write of the trial of their faith in the first epistle, however, in this second epistle he would write concerning faith as the foundation upon which all the other virtues were and would be built upon. It would be in this second epistle the apostle would write unto these saints and brethren to add to their faith virtue, and to add to their virtue knowledge, and to add to their knowledge temperance, and to add to their temperance patience, and to add to their patience godliness, and to add to their godliness brotherly kindness, and to add to their brotherly kindness charity.

            FAITH! VIRTUE! KNOWLEDGE! TEMPERANCE! PATIENCE! GODLINESS! BROTHERLY KINDNESS! CHARITY! Oh we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of the words which are written and found within these verses in the opening chapter of the epistle, for they point to and reveal how in the midst of widespread and rampant deception, false teaching and false doctrine the saints and brethren needed to begin with the faith that was present in their hearts and souls, and diligently add to that faith. The more I read these words the more I can’t help but be absolutely gripped and captivated with the fact that not only did the apostle Peter use the word diligence to describe the mindset, the urgency and the responsibility that was placed upon the saints and brethren, but the apostle Peter also used the word “add” when speaking concerning their faith. Oh we dare not and must not miss and lose sight  of this awesome and powerful reality, for when reading the words which are found in this passage of Scripture you get the sense that faith alone isn’t enough. WE know that without and apart from faith it is impossible to please God, and we know that we are justified by faith, and we know that faith without works is dead, yet what we more often than not fail to recognize and understand is that faith is the starting point, the foundation, and the building block upon which we build various other elements and aspects of the divine nature of the living and eternal God, and of the Lord Jesus Christ. When writing unto the churches in Galatia the apostle Paul wrote and spoke of the fruit of the Spirit and listed nine different fruits of the Spirit that were necessary within the hearts and lives of the saints and brethren of God. As you come to the second epistle written by the apostle Peter you will find this apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ beginning with faith and using faith as the starting point upon which the saints and brethren were required to add to within their hearts and lives. It is when reading the words which are found in this second epistle written by the apostle Peter we get the sense that faith indeed is not enough, and that we must diligently and give all diligence to add to our faith various different elements and aspects of the divine nature of the living God. Oh we cannot afford to miss and lose sight of this truly wonderful and powerful truth, for it brings us face to face with the awesome and incredible reality that faith alone is not enough within our hearts and lives, and we need to add to our faith.

            FAITH IS THE STARTING POINT! WHAT ARE YOU ADDING TO YOUR FAITH? I cannot help but read the words which are found in the second epistle written by the apostle Peter and be brought face to face with the awesome and incredible truth that there is a great and powerful needed within our hearts and lives to take the faith that is present within our hearts and spirits—faith which came by hearing, and hearing by the word of God—and we must diligently work to add to our faith different elements and characteristics of the divine nature of the living and eternal God. We dare not and must not miss this incredibly and all important truth and reality within our hearts and lives—particularly and especially when we read this epistle which was written unto saints who were dealing and contending with rampant and widespread deception, false teaching and false doctrine. It is absolutely necessary and imperative that we pay close and careful attention to the words found in this passage of Scripture, for it brings us face to face with that which is necessary within our hearts and our lives—namely that we must needs work and begin with our faith, and through the power of the Holy Spirit add to and build on to that faith different elements and aspects of the divine nature of the living God, and of His eternal and only begotten Christ. The apostle Peter began with faith and used faith as the starting point, and sought to bring his readers and his audience into the place where they realized, recognized and understood that faith was the foundation upon which all the other characteristics of the divine nature were added to and built within the hearts and lives of the saints of God. The apostle Peter sought to bring us face to face with the incredibly powerful truth that beginning with faith we must add to that faith—and not only add, but continue to add to it. Oh there is not a doubt in my mind that we not only have a great need to add to our faith, but to continually and continuously add to our faith each and every day within and throughout the course of our lives. There is not a doubt in my mind that we have great need within our hearts and lives to take the faith that is found within our hearts and our spirits and diligently work to add to and increase that faith—much like the two servants who were given talents according to their ability.

            When I think about the words the apostle Peter wrote concerning us adding to our faith the divine elements and characteristics of the divine nature I cannot help but think about and consider the words which are found in the parable which Jesus spoke concerning the three servants who were each given talents based on their several ability. We know from the parable that the servant who was given five talents took those five talents, put them to use and to work, and gained five more talents. The second servant who was given two talents took those talents, put them to work, and added unto them two more talents. I am absolutely and completely convinced that we must needs pay close and careful attention to these words, for they present us with a powerful backdrop and powerful picture concerning what we are to do with the faith which has been given unto us within our hearts and lives. There is not a doubt in my mind that we have great need within our hearts and lives to take the faith which has been given unto us, and to put our faith to work before and in the presence and sight of the LORD our God that we might add to that faith the various elements of the divine nature and character of the living God. I am absolutely convinced that there is a great need within our hearts and lives to take the faith which has been given unto and bestowed upon us within our lives and use to not only “add,” but also to “gain” that which is necessary in the sight and presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. It was Jesus who spoke of His return and asked if and when the Son of man returns would He find faith upon the earth. I would like to take this a step further and not only ask will the Son of man find faith upon the earth, but will he find faith which has been used to partake of the divine nature of the living and eternal God. There is not a doubt in my mind that the divine nature which the apostle Peter spoke of in this chapter is fully and completely manifested in the following words when he would write about virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness and charity or love.

            I am sitting here today thinking about and considering the words which the apostle Peter wrote within this passage of Scripture, for the apostle would also go on to emphatically and boldly declare that if these things be in us—and not only are in us, but also abound—they will ensure that we will neither be barren, nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. WE must needs pay close and careful attention to the words found in this passage of Scripture, for in addition to writing and considering the truth concerning the divine nature, we must also realize the apostle Peter wrote about the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is absolutely astonishing to read the words found in this passage of Scripture, for on the one hand the apostle Peter wrote and declared that those who had these things will neither be barren nor unfruitful, while on the other hand the apostle Peter wrote that those who lacked these things were blind, cannot see afar off, and have forgotten that they were purged from old sins. If there is one thing we must needs realize and recognize when reading the words which are found in this passage of Scripture it’s that not only does the apostle Peter write concerning this addition to our faith, but the apostle Peter also wrote concerning this addition and these additions abounding within our lives. Oh we must needs realize and recognize that not only have we been called to add to our faith, but we must add to our faith that it might abound. I am absolutely and completely convinced there is an intrinsic link between adding to our faith and that which we add to our faith abounding, for the only way to guarantee that what we add to our faith abounds is to add, and continue adding to our faith. In other words, we aren’t merely to add to our faith virtue, and add it unto it once and then completely forget about it. What’s  more, is that I am convinced that when the apostle Peter writes about this “abounding”—not only is he writing and speaking about adding and continuing to add each of these characteristics of the divine nature, but the apostle Peter is also writing how we must continually add these divine characteristics and elements of the divine nature within our lives. Oh there is a great and tremendous need within our hearts and lives to daily participate in the divine nature of the living God—and not only to participate within the divine nature of the living God, but also to take the various elements of the divine nature and add—and continue adding—them to our faith.

            This reality is one that is actually quite astonishing and intriguing when you take the time to think about it, for the apostle Peter not only seems to begin with faith as the foundation, but I would also argue and contend that in addition to this the apostle Peter is actually revealing and showing unto us how we add these elements of the divine nature unto and within our lives—namely that we appropriate and add these elements and characteristics unto us. In other words—not only is faith the foundation, but faith is also the means whereby we appropriate and add these elements of the divine nature and characteristics of the living and eternal God unto and within our lives. Oh we must needs pay close and careful attention to this, for if there is one thing that is absolutely and entirely needed in the midst of rampant and widespread deception, false teaching and false doctrine it is men and women who are not only full of faith as was mentioned and spoken of concerning Stephen in the book of Acts, but also men and women who are indeed and are in fact partakers of the divine nature. I would dare say that one of the greatest needs within our hearts and lives in the midst of widespread and rampant deception is participating and partaking of the divine nature within our hearts and lives. One of the greatest safeguards against and in the midst of the deception, false teaching and false doctrine that is found within this generation is the divine nature of the living and eternal God. What’s more, is that I am also convinced that in addition to the divine nature we must also recognize and understand the need for the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ as the apostle Peter wrote and mentioned in this passage of Scripture. Oh if there are two things that are absolutely necessary and critical within our hearts and lives it is the participation and partaking of the divine nature, as well as the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

            I am absolutely and completely convinced we must needs pay close and careful attention to that which is written and found within this epistle, for it is when you come to the second chapter you actually find the apostle Peter writing concerning the deception, false teaching and false doctrine that was so pervasive during those days. It was in the first and opening chapter the apostle Peter sought to bring the saints and brethren unto and into the place where they safeguarded themselves from this deception through partaking of the divine nature, through possessing the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ, and giving themselves unto the prophetic word that was given by and through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. It is when and as you come to the second chapter of this epistle you are brought face to face with the declaration of how there were false prophets which were present during the days of the ancient Hebrew prophets, and how even during those days there were false prophets among the true prophets of the Lord. The apostle Peter begins and opens up the second chapter of this epistle writing unto the saints and brethren concerning the false teachers and false prophets which were present within and among them—those who sought to deceive them and introduce destructive behaviors, doctrines and practices. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of what is found in the second and third chapters of this epistle, for the words we find written and recorded in these chapters not only point to the tremendous danger and ultimate demise and destruction of false teachers, but also the response of our lives to the imminent return of the Lord Jesus Christ. We have great need when reading the words found in this epistle to not only understand that which was written concerning the false teachers and false apostles which were present among the saints and churches, but also that which was written concerning the return of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is in the third chapter where you will not only find the apostle Peter writing concerning the imminent return of the Lord Jesus Christ, but also how we ought to live in light of the knowledge of the imminent return of the Lord Jesus Christ. Consider if you will the words which are found in the second chapter of this epistle concerning the false prophets, false teachers and false apostles which were found in the midst of the churches during the days and time of the writing of this epistle:

            “But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord through bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not. For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment; and spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eight person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly; and turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly; and delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked: (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds) The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished: but chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government. Presumptuous are they, self-willed, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities. Whereas angels, which are greater in power and might, bring not railing accusation against them before the Lord. But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption; and shall receive the reward of unrighteousness, as they that count it pleasure to riot in the day time. Spots they are and blemishes, sporting themselves with their own deceivings while they feast with you; having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls; and heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children: which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness; but was rebuked for his iniquity: the dumb ass speaking with man’s voice forbad the madness of the prophet. These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a temptest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever. For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error. While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage. For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire” (2 Peter 2:1-22).

            As I bring this writing to a close I find it absolutely necessary to call and draw your attention to the words which are found in the third and final chapter, for the words which are found in the third chapter bring us face to face with the awesome and incredible truth that the Lord Jesus Christ is indeed coming back and is indeed returning to gather and rapture His holy saints and the brethren and beloved of God. I am absolutely and completely convinced that everything we do in this life must needs and should be in direct alignment with our recognizing and understanding that the Lord Jesus Christ is indeed returning and is indeed coming back. There is not a doubt in my mind that everything we do in this life must needs be directly linked and connected to the knowledge of the return of the Lord Jesus Christ. I firmly believe that the way we live and the way we conduct our lives must needs be in direct response to the knowledge that the Lord Jesus Christ is indeed returning for a bride and body that is without spot and wrinkle. In spite of and in the face of false prophets and false teachers who seek to spew the venom of their deception, and even in the face of scoffers and mockers who would like to argue that the Lord Jesus Christ is not coming back we as the saints and brethren of the Lord Jesus Christ must needs pay close attention to the words which are found in this epistle, for we must needs guard ourselves from and against the false teaching, the false doctrine and deception, as well as guard ourselves from and against scoffers and mockers concerning the last days—those who would seek to argue and contend that the Lord Jesus is not going to and will not return for His body and bride. There is not a doubt in my mind that we have great need to live our lives in direct response to and with the knowledge of the return of the Lord Jesus Christ, for perhaps the single greatest thing we must needs realize and understand is that we need to live our lives in expectation of the return of the Lord Jesus Christ, as we recognize and understand that although His return might indeed and might in fact be delayed, He is still coming back. Although the return of the Lord Jesus Christ might not have happened yet, and despite the fact there are scoffers and mockers who would like to argue and contend that the Lord Jesus is not returning, the apostle Peter seeks to invite and instruct us into the place where we commit and give ourselves unto the knowledge and expectation of the return of the Lord Jesus Christ. Oh it is with this in mind I leave you with the following and final words of the apostle Peter which are found in the third chapter of this epistle:

This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance: that ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour: Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, and saying, Where is the promise of his coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation. For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: but the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men. But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is long suffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heart, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless. And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; as also in all his epistles, speaking them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the scripture, unto their own destruction. Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness. But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen” (2 Peter 3:1-18).

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