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Faithlife Corporation

2008-11-23

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INTRODUCTION

In the last two weeks we have looked into this letter of Peter and have identified the author, the audience and the Gospel of Grace. They had received the same precious faith. We also noted that Peter tells his audience to “Add” to their faith, not that it is needed to save them rather that it is the proper response to grace when a living faith is present in the heart.

3. But upon what foundation does our "precious faith" in Christ rest?

a)    Is it just "blind faith", or perhaps credulity 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 rest...

a)    The testimony of apostolic eyewitnesses - e.g.,

i.      Ac 2:32; “This Jesus God raised up again, to which we are all witnesses. [1]

ii.      3:14-15; “But you disowned athe Holy and Righteous One and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, 15  but put to death the Prince of life, the one whom God raised from the dead, a fact to which we are witnesses.[2]

iii.          5:30-32; “aThe God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom you had put to death by hanging Him on a cross. 31 “He is the one whom God exalted to His right hand as a Prince and a  Savior, to grant repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins. 32  “And we are witnesses of these things; and  so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey Him.”[3]

iv.          10:39-43  “We are witnesses of all the things He did both in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They also put Him to death by hanging Him on a cross.  40  “God raised Him up on the third day and granted that He become visible,  41 not to all the people, but to witnesses who were chosen beforehand by God, that is, to us who ate and drank with Him after He arose from the dead. 42 “And He ordered us to preach to the people, and solemnly to testify that this is the One who has been appointed by God as Judge of the living and the dead.  43  “Of Him  all the prophets bear witness that through His name everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins.”[4]

v.            13:30-31 and for many days aHe appeared to those who came up with Him from Galilee to Jerusalem, the very ones who are now bHis witnesses to the people. [5]

b)     The testimony of Old Testament prophecy - e.g.,

i.              Ac 2:25-31;  “For David says of Him, ‘I saw the Lord always in my presence; For He is at my right hand, so that I will not be shaken. 26 ‘Therefore my heart was glad and my tongue exulted; Moreover my flesh also will live in hope;  27  Because You will not abandon my soul to  Hades, Nor allow Your Holy One to undergo decay.  28 ‘You have made known to me the ways of life; You will make me full of gladness with Your presence.’  29  “Brethren, I may confidently say to you regarding the patriarch David that he both died and  was buried, and  his tomb is with us to this day.  30 “And so, because he was a prophet and knew that God had sworn to him with an oath to seat one of his descendants on his throne,  31 he looked ahead and spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that He was neither abandoned to Hades, nor did His flesh suffer decay.   32   “This Jesus aGod raised up again, to which we are all witnesses. [6]

ii.            3:22-24    “Moses said, ‘aThe Lord God will raise up for you a prophet 1like me from your brethren; to Him you shall give heed to everything He says to you.  23 ‘And it will be that every soul that does not heed that prophet shall be utterly destroyed from among the people.’  24 “And likewise, all the prophets who have spoken, from Samuel and his successors onward, also announced these days. [7]

iii.          Ac 10:43  “Of Him  all the prophets bear witness that through His name everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins.” [8]

iv.           13:32-41 32   “And we  preach to you the good news of the promise made to the fathers, 33  that God has fulfilled this promise to our children in that He  raised up Jesus, as it is also written in the second Psalm, ‘You are My Son; today i have begotten You.’ 34 “As for the fact that He  raised Him up from the dead, no longer to return to decay, He has spoken in this way: ‘I will give you the holy and 1sure blessings of David.’ 35 “Therefore He also says in another Psalm, ‘You will not allow Your Holy One to undergo decay.’  36 “For David, after he had served  the purpose of God in his own generation,  fell asleep, and was laid among his fathers and underwent decay;  37 but He whom God raised did not 1undergo decay.  38 “Therefore let it be known to you, brethren, that through Him forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you,  39 and through Him everyone who believes is freed from all things, from which you could not be freed through the Law of Moses. 40 “Therefore take heed, so that the thing spoken of in the Prophets may not come upon you:   41 ‘Behold, you scoffers, and marvel, and 1perish; For I am accomplishing a work in your days, A work which you will never believe, though someone should describe it to you.’ ”[9]

v.            17:2-3 And according to Paul’s custom, he went to them, and for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from  the Scriptures,  3   explaining and giving evidence that the Christ  had to suffer and rise again from the dead, and saying, “This Jesus whom I am proclaiming to you is the Christ.” [10]

5. Even in this Second Epistle, we find Peter referring to these "two lines of evidence" as we consider the text for our study - 2Pe 1: 16-21 (READ)

Scripture:

     16     For we did not follow cleverly devised tales when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were  eyewitnesses of His majesty.

     17     For when He received honor and glory from God the Father, such an utterance as this was made to Him by the Majestic Glory, “This is My beloved Son with whom I am well-pleased”—

     18     and we ourselves heard this utterance made from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain.

     19     So we have the prophetic word made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts.

     20     But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation,

     21     for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men  moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.

[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 about...]

I. THE TESTIMONY OF APOSTOLIC EYEWITNESSES (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"

            (Goodspeed)

         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!

      3. Why is this the only alternative?  Because...

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"

                                                                                 1Jn 1:1

   C. A SAMPLE OF THEIR "EYEWITNESS TESTIMONY"

      1. Peter refers to the event that occurred at "The Mount of Transfiguration" as recorded in Mt 17:1-9; Mk 9:2-9; Lk 9:28-36

      2. An event which depicted the power, majesty, honor and glory Jesus had!

      3. Why did he choose 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 two possibilities

             a. Either they are 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    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 - Jn 17:20 I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; [11]

But there is even more that serves to support our faith in Jesus Christ...

II. THE TESTIMONY OF DIVINELY ORIGINATED PROPHECY (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 - ie Isa 9:6-7 and 53:1-12 to name just two

            b. To which the apostles often appealed in their efforts to convince others that Jesus was the Christ – as they did in 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 faith...

   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 2Ti 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 Jesus

             b. They also help the Christian become "wise for salvation Through faith which is in Christ Jesus" - 2Ti 3:15

             c. They are therefore a source for developing patience, comfort and hope -  Ro 15:4 / “ For  whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. [12] /

      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" - . 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

               translated:

            a) "No prophecy of scripture is a matter of one's own interpretation" (RSV;KJV,NKJV,NASB,)

            b) "No prophecy of Scripture ever came about  by a prophet's own ideas" (NIV)

            2) I believe both the immediate context (v. 21) and the remote context (1Pe 1:10-12) of Peter's comments support the latter translation (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 our faith...

          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 prophets wrote!

CONCLUSION

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", rather it is 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

30  Therefore many other signs Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; 31  but these have been written  so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that  believing you may have life in His name. [13]

   b. Remission of sins - cf. Ac 10:43

“Of Him all the prophets bear witness that through His name everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins.” [14]

But it must also be an obedient faith

Rom 1:5 through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith among  all the Gentiles for His name’s sake,

Rom 6:17 But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that  form of teaching to which you were committed,

Rom 16:26 but now is manifested, and by  the Scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the eternal God, has been made known to all the nations, leading to  obedience of faith;

The first steps of faith are outlined by Jesus & His apostles

Mk 16:15-16

And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.  16  “He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned.

 

Ac 2:36-38

“Therefore let all the  house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ—this Jesus  whom you crucified.”  37  Now when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles,“Brethren,  what shall we do?”  38 Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.


----

[1] New American Standard Bible : 1995 Update. LaHabra, CA : The Lockman Foundation, 1995, S. Ac 2:32

a Mark 1:24; Acts 4:27; 7:52; 2 Cor 5:21

[2] New American Standard Bible : 1995 Update. LaHabra, CA : The Lockman Foundation, 1995, S. Ac 3:14-15

a Acts 3:13

[3] New American Standard Bible : 1995 Update. LaHabra, CA : The Lockman Foundation, 1995, S. Ac 5:30-32

[4] New American Standard Bible : 1995 Update. LaHabra, CA : The Lockman Foundation, 1995, S. Ac 10:39-43

a Acts 1:3

b Luke 24:48

[5] New American Standard Bible : 1995 Update. LaHabra, CA : The Lockman Foundation, 1995, S. Ac 13:31

a Acts 2:24; 3:15, 26; 4:10; 5:30; 10:40; 13:30, 33, 34, 37; 17:31; Rom 4:24; 6:4; 8:11; 10:9; 1 Cor 6:14; 15:15; 2 Cor 4:14; Gal 1:1; Eph 1:20; Col 2:12; 1 Thess 1:10; Heb 13:20; 1 Pet 1:21

[6] New American Standard Bible : 1995 Update. LaHabra, CA : The Lockman Foundation, 1995, S. Ac 2:25-32

a Deut 18:15, 18; Acts 7:37

1 Or as He raised up me

[7] New American Standard Bible : 1995 Update. LaHabra, CA : The Lockman Foundation, 1995, S. Ac 3:22-24

[8] New American Standard Bible : 1995 Update. LaHabra, CA : The Lockman Foundation, 1995, S. Ac 10:43

1 Lit trustworthy

1 Lit see corruption

1 Lit disappear

[9] New American Standard Bible : 1995 Update. LaHabra, CA : The Lockman Foundation, 1995, S. Ac 13:32-41

[10] New American Standard Bible : 1995 Update. LaHabra, CA : The Lockman Foundation, 1995, S. Ac 17:2-3

[11] New American Standard Bible : 1995 Update. LaHabra, CA : The Lockman Foundation, 1995, S. Jn 17:20

[12] New American Standard Bible : 1995 Update. LaHabra, CA : The Lockman Foundation, 1995, S. Ro 15:4

[13] New American Standard Bible : 1995 Update. LaHabra, CA : The Lockman Foundation, 1995, S. Jn 20:30-31

[14] New American Standard Bible : 1995 Update. LaHabra, CA : The Lockman Foundation, 1995, S. Ac 10:43

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