2 Peter 1 Don't Forget to Remember!

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Bible Study from 2 Peter 1:12-15

Don't Forget to Remember!

by I Gordon


This study is pretty simple... It's about the importance of remembering, or being reminded, of the truth. When I preached this message recently, I decided to start by giving a little quiz comprising of questions from what I had spoken about in the last two sermons. Without saying how they went (ok, they were abysmal!  [1]  ) let's just say that the results of the quiz greatly enforced what I then went on to speak about - the importance of remembering, and being reminded of the truth. So let's start with a few questions for you that have all been mentioned in the preceding studies of 2nd Peter...

  1. What year did Peter write '2nd Peter'?
  2. What year did Peter die?
  3. What was the key thought in the first study on 2nd Peter 1:1-4?
  4. What was the key thought in the second study on 2nd Peter 1:5-11?  [2] 

Easy questions I'm sure! Now the key word in the last study that we did was 'diligence'. The key word in this study would be 'remember'. So let's have a look at the first verse.

Remember what you know!

2nd Peter 1:12 'Therefore I will always be ready to remind you of these things, even though you already know them, and have been established in the truth which is present with you.' (NASB)

So Peter starts off in 1:12 with a 'therefore'. Now the golden rule when you see a 'therefore', is to ask yourself what is it 'there for'? In this case, Peter is saying that he will always be ready to remind them because of the eternal consequences of this truth. In the verse preceding this one, we see the importance of putting into practice the truth of God, and how it will lead to an abundant entrance into the kingdom of our Lord. So Peter is willing to remind them, and remind them, and remind them once again.

Why is it, do you think, that we need this constant reinforcement and reminding of the truth? Simply put, we have leaks! While you may know the truth, you will still be bombarded with worldly philosophies everywhere you turn. As I said in a previous study, the Christian life is one of swimming against the tide. And so, being reminded of the truth is critical!  [3] 

Before moving on, there are two points that I want to make about this verse.

  1. They needed to be reminded even though they already knew the truth Peter was speaking about. Sometimes you can listen to a sermon, or read a Christian book and think 'Come on, I know that! Get on with it.'... 'I've heard that already!'... And switch off spiritually. Peter says that it is still important to be reminded of that which you already know.
  2. It wasn't a new truth that Peter was bringing to them. He knew, even if some of us don't, that there is nothing wrong with the gospel. We just need to let it take a grip on our hearts.  [4] 

Do you need a stir up?

2nd Peter 1:13 'I consider it right, as long as I am in this earthly dwelling, to stir you up by way of reminder.'

Peter says in this verse that a person may have heard the truth, been established in the truth, but not be stirred by the truth. And that, my friend, is a scary place to be in because it leads to spiritual apathy! We need to remember the importance of what we believe. We need to be stirred up, and gripped by the reality of it. It may be that you need to go back to the Lord again and ask Him to speak and open your eyes to the truth of His word. Especially the things that Peter has been talking about in 2nd Peter 1:1-11. You see, the Christian church is very little different from the nation of Israel. And when you look at the history of Israel, you see a constant repetition... a constant cycle... of forgetting to remember the ways of the Lord. Let's just look at one example, from Deuteronomy chapter 8.

Remember, my people!

Deut 8:1-3  Be careful to follow every command I am giving you today  , so that you may live and increase and may enter and possess the land that the LORD promised on oath to your forefathers. Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years,  to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands  . He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known,  to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD  .

Deuteronomy chapter 8 is a very important chapter and I would encourage you go away and read it. Go on, go do it now... It's better than this study! It is very important because it was written at a critical point in Israel's history. The 40 years of wandering in the wilderness was behind them... the land of promise stands before them. And I would suggest to you, that Moses' words in this chapter would prove to be prophetic of not only Israel's future history, but of Christian history as well.

So what does Moses say first? Easy... ' Be careful to follow every command I am giving you today'. So what is the first command? Still easy... ' Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way'. At this important point in their history, Moses is saying 'Israel, you have got to remember. Don't forget how God has led you... there have been many difficulties, many trials, many humbling times...God was testing you and teaching you His way. Don't forget this!' This is important for us. You may be feeling tried and stretched right now. You must remember! Don't forget that the path of God does involve testings and trials. And also never forget verse 16 of this chapter. Any testing, and humbling, any trial from God, is 'to do good for you in the end'.

And if you've got it easy...

So maybe what I have described above isn't you at the moment. Maybe everything is going very nice and easy thank you very much! Maybe you're having a nice little time of ease and prosperity. If that it you, then here is my verse for you from Deut 8 -

Deut 8:10-18 'When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the LORD your God for the good land he has given you. Be careful that you do not forget the LORD your God, failing to observe his commands, his laws and his decrees that I am giving you this day. Otherwise, when you eat and are satisfied, when you build fine houses and settle down, and  when your herds and flocks grow large and your silver and gold increase and all you have is multiplied, then your heart will become proud and you will forget the LORD your God  , who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. He led you through the vast and dreadful desert, that thirsty and waterless land, with its venomous snakes and scorpions. He brought you water out of hard rock. He gave you manna to eat in the desert, something your fathers had never known, to humble and to test you so that in the end it might go well with you.  You may say to yourself, 'My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.' But remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth  , and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your forefathers, as it is today.

And that prophetic portion of scripture my friend, has been proven to be sadly accurate in the lives of many in Israel and the Church. How many have 'slipped away' as prosperity increases? Remember the Lord your God! Do not let the 'deceitfulness of wealth' choke your life so as to forget the Lord (see Matt 13:22.) Do not forget  [5]  to remember!  [6]  Deuteronomy chapter 8 is placed in the Bible to remind you of Israel's history, the reasons why they fell, and to serve as a warning for your own Christian life.

And Finally... Back to Peter

2 Pet 1:13-15 ' I think it is right to refresh your memory as long as I live in the tent of this body, because I know that I will soon put it aside, as our Lord Jesus Christ has made clear to me. And I will make every effort to see that after my departure you will always be able to remember these things.'

There are a couple of things that made Peter very focused.... The first is mentioned above and it is that He knew that his time on this earth was nearly up. The second is found in verse 16 (not shown above) and that will be the focus of the next study. So Peter knew that his time was short... Tell me, what would you be doing different in your life if you knew that the time of your departure from this life was at hand? Probably make you pretty focused on the things that really matter now wouldn't it? The problem that we have is that we think we've got all the time in the world... and so we become hazy and unfocused on the things of eternity.

Well let's gain some clarity from a man who was focused. What was Peter focused on? He was focused on using his time to remind Christians of the truth of God's word... and specifically the key truths that he writes about in this little book of 2nd Peter. May we too be reminded, and remind others, of these things.

Don't forget to remember!

[1] ↩  My mother asked how it went and so I said that I tried a quiz and they couldn't remember anything from what I had spoken about in the last two sermons! To which she replied 'well, you can't remember what you ate for dinner only last Wednesday, but that's not too say that it didn't do you any good!' Too true!

[2] ↩  If you said 66 AD, 67 AD, 'True Knowledge', and 'Diligence', and in that order, then you may need to read 1 Cor 8:1-2 before getting carried away with such a great memory and knowledge! (Well done though!) In fact, if you did get them all right, then here is the bonus question for $1,000,000 - The oldest person recorded in the Bible is Methuselah who lived 969 years. How is it then that he died before his father? (When you are stuck, and not before, see Gen 5:21-24)

Conditions for the $1,000,000 offer:
1. No relatives of the writer may apply.
2. Offer expires the day before last.

[3] ↩  I read something recently that John Macarthur said in a sermon - ' You know, any good teacher knows one thing about his pupil. They forget what you teach them. You know why teacher knows that? Because they forget! Once in awhile I had to take out an old tape to hear what I believe or interpret concerning a certain passage. Because we forget... And so any teacher knows you teach by repetition.' Now this gave me great heart! Even a great teacher like John Macarthur needs to sometimes remind himself on certain truths from some of the old tapes!

[4] ↩  I only say this because many in our age try to change the truth of the gospel in an effort to make it more

appealing to the masses. Also it seems that so many are waiting for 'the new thing' - 'the new buzz'. And many 'leaders' and 'teachers' are oh so willing to oblige this desire. Always remember the little ditty when it comes to spiritual truth - 'If it's true, it's not new. And if it's new, it is not true!' God would say '  ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.  '

[5] ↩  Actually, here is a question for you... while there are lots of commands telling us not to forget the Lord, there is only one thing that the New Testament tells us to forget. Do you know what that is? For the answer check out the Phil 3:13. Actually, we'll make it a double header... Here is the second question. From the book of Hebrews, what is it that God will never remember and what is it that God will never forget? Answers are in Heb 10:17 and Heb 6:10. Both scriptures are well worth pondering on!

[6] ↩  It's not that we have bad memories... Scientists tell us that the mind can store as many as six hundred memories per second, for our lifetime, without problem. The Guinness book of records states that Dominic O'Brien memorised fifty four packs of shuffled cards (2,808 cards) in a single sitting. It took him eleven hours and forty two minutes to memorise the order of the cards, and three hours and thirty minutes to recite their order. It was said of Mozart that even weeks after hearing an elaborate piece of music for the first time, he could sit down and write out the whole score from memory. If you're like me, you will probably relate better to the old man with a bad memory who was showing off his new dog to his neighbour. ' What's its name?' the neighbour said. 'Um, it's name is... um, she's called...' After a long pause the old man said 'What is that flower with a long stem and thorns?' 'A rose' his neighbour replied. 'Yeah that's right' said the old man. 'Rose, honey, what's the name of our dog?'

Ok, so that was put in there cos it made me laugh. The point is this... we don't forget the Lord because we have bad memories. We forget the Lord because of a slow spiritual choking that occurs through the distractions of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth, prosperity and sin. (Heb 3:12-13)

As a side issue, if you do have a bad memory and feel that you forget everything that you read in God's word, you may like this story (do your best to remember it!). A young believer went to his pastor and said 'It is no use! No matter how much I read the Bible, I don't retain anything of it. I'm like a sieve!' The wise old pastor replied 'Well, if you hold a sieve under a running tap, it's probably not going to retain much of the water either. But at least you'll have a clean sieve!' And that is so true. If you don't remember much of what you read, the word of God will still be active and you will be washed with the water of the word!