One of the things that I’ll never miss out whenever I drive with my mom aside from the endless stories about anything and everything under the sun, is her reminders of the following: Huwag kang masyadong mabilis; Okay lang ang mabagal, basta safe, which means in English, don’t be too fast, it’s better to be slow or rather it is better to be safe rather than be too fast. Pag liliko ka, lagi kang sumignal; lagi kang mag-pray, not to hit and not to be hit. True story po iyon. She would always give me these reminders not because of anything na nakikita niya on the way I drive, but ofcourse I make a lot of mistakes as a driver, but because she simply wants me to be safe on the road. And ofcourse being my mom, she’s just concerned at ine-express lang niya sa akin ang kaniyang pagmamahal.
Though it can be tempting to be, to respond or to react differently, because it is the same set of reminders that she haas been giving me for the past ten years since I started driving. Paulit-ulit niyang sinasabi sa akin iyon. But I cannot deny that these are well intended and good for me, these reminders. Christians too benefit from being reminded of the gospel and the truth concerning the person and work of Jesus Christ will never outgrow our need for the gospel. Hence, it is important for us to be always given that as a reminder to remember. So we’ll go to, we’ll have a quick break on our series on the Book of Genesis and today, we’ll be looking at the New Testament so if you have your bibles with you, please open with me to 2nd Peter, second Peter chapter 1 and we will be focusing on verses 12 to 15 but for context just so we can wrap our minds into it, we will be reading from verse 1. So second Peter chapter 1 verses 1 to 15 but we’ll read verses 1 to 15. So hear now the words oof our God and King – Simeon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ,
To those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ: May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins. Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Therefore I intend always to remind you of these qualities, though you know them and are established in the truth that you have. I think it right, as long as I am in this body, to stir you up by way of reminder, since I know that the putting off of my body will be soon, as our Lord Jesus Christ made clear to me. And I will make every effort so that after my departure you may be able at any time to recall these things. Praise the Lord for the reading of His Word. Let’s come before Him in prayer..Oh God and Heavenly Father, we are people who easily forget. We are people who are marred by sin and so we ask oh Lord, we, for Your help. We ask oh Lord that You would enable our minds to be once again be rekindled, be awakened, be stirred up by the gospel, by the truth of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. His righteousness, His finished work, His perfection, the beauty of the gospel. May You just allow it to be, to be so, so clear to us today, Lord God. That iit would rekindle our hearts to worship You. And oh Lord, we pray that this would also stir us up to faithful service and endure oh Lord, as You have called us as a church to bring Your gospel to the world. So Father God, we thank You for this time. We pray that Your Spirit will be our teacher, in Christ’s Name, we pray, Amen.
So in this letter, the Apostle Peter knows that his death is imminent, similar to the situation in the letter of the Apostle Paul in second Timothy which we studied in our morning worship for, for I think roughly about, aabout two months so this is the same audience as his first letter. And he recognises that these churches that are scattered around Rome are greatly challenged at this particular time. The situation again, is also similar at the time of Paul. They’re challenged by the false teachers who are spreading their destructive heresies. Christians are greatly persecuted at that time and because of that, he writes this letter to stir up the church unto faithful commitment to God and the knowledge of Christ and to holy living. He also writes to them to warn them against the deception of the false teachers. As we’ve read in chapter 1, he began by reminding of the, reminding them of the gracious blessings that they received in Christ and he challenges them not just to keep, keep it on their heads, so that they wold hold onto it but to enable the qualities..yung mga qualities na binanggit ni Apostle Peter to make sure that it goes hand-in-hand with their profession of faith. He wants them to know of the greatness of their belongingness in Christ, the sufficient resource that they have and encourages them to grow in godliness, to make sure that they would live it out, that they may remain firm and fruitful in their faith. And from there, Peter briefly concludes and states his intention so that the church would be able to recall these things even after he’s long gone, okay. This is the section we’ll be looking at verses 12 to 15.We’ll see the deep concern, the deep affection of the Apostle Peter, and his love towards the churches, towards his fellow brethren whom he considers have received a faith that is of equal standing with them. He wants to see these churches thrive and living excellent lives in Christ amid a godless culture, whose values is remotely God or God-honouring. Ofcourse, it doesn’t happen by following a one- two-step formula. God is not calling the churches to become crafty to generate the best ideas in order to communicate the gospel effectively. And to reach the world with the message of Christ and properly manage the church. Rather, He gives us what is the ORDINARY. It gives us the ordinary means of grace that are intended to give enough STRENGTHEN for our faith. And it is “God, through the gracious reminders of His truth that strengthens the church.” That is my message for this afternoon. “God, through the gracious reminders of His truth strengthens the church.” And as people of God, as a church, we want to see people come to the Lord Jesus Christ. We have evangelistic efforts, not just as part of a program but we know that this is a calling that Christ Himself has given to the church to spread the gospel message for the salvation of sinners. And that saints would walk humbly and faithfully before God. Mortifying their sins. Cultivating opposite graces, upholding and obeying God’s truth, seeing all providences in the perspective of God, delighting themselves in the Lord. And worshipping God both public and in private. And he uses the means of grace in order to strengthen the church.
Spread the message and to make sure that His saints are sanctified through His word and through the means of grace.
Now, we will be looking at two things as we unpack this message. The first one, we will look at eht importance of this reminder which is our first point that Needed Reminder. And of course, this reminder also has an effect, has a logical effect, sa ating mga buhay. If we understand that this reminder is really important, at hindi lang siya important, but it really changes our lives for the Lord. That’s the second thing that we will look at. The Steadfast Resolve.
So let’s look at the first one.. The Needed Reminder. Peter doesn’t only refer to them as those who have obtained the same faith as equal
standing with them, but here we see that these people are described by the Apostle as: well-established in the Truth and what Peter wrote to them is something that they already knew. So we can say that these are perhaps matured believers. They are acquainted to the tenants of the faith. They may have heard the Apostle Peter preach to them. He may have ministered to them. Nonetheless, the Apostle Peter states that he intends to always remind them of these things – referring to Verses 3 to
11. The beauty of the GOSPEL of Christ. The resource that we have in Christ as we live out our christian lifs and the blessing of ASSURANCE. By cultivating these qualities, sinabi niya, they will never fall and they will not fall into being unfruitful or ineffective. And he reminds them for two reasons. We see that is verse 13. Sinabi niya – to stir them up – that is to excite and awaken them and in verse 15, he told them that he does this so they may be able to recall these things even after he dies.. And even after he’s long gone. That as he continually reminds them of these fruits, parang magiging second nature na lang sa kanila.That as thy go through life, they would be able to recall the gracious promises that we have in Christ. And we ask “why would it be necessary?” “Bakit pa kailangang gawin ni Aposle Peter ito if they are presumably they are mature in the faith, they know these things already If these people are grounded already in the Truth, why would he labour for something they already know? Well for one thing, God intended that His Word be read, taught, and instructed repeatedly, okay. Ang sabi ni Deacon Duncan, God is a good teacher. He repeats Himself. We see that in the radical way He called the Israelites to love God and to keep His Words. And of course the necessity demands its frequency knowing God’s word benefits, builds up, and fortifies our confidence in the Lord. And third, for the simple reason that we are forgetful people. The need for a reminder implies that it can be forgotten as well! We hae preoccupations – our desires and inclinations can be swayed. There are external factors which can affect us as well – especially when our expectations doesn’t match what is happening in reality. And in our scripture reading in Deuteronomy chapter 8, that’s why God reminded the Israelites to continually remember the LORD their God. God through Moses commanded the people to remember Him, to keep His commandments. And by doing so, would preserve them as they enter the promised land. To remember the way that God dealt with them, that He’s the One sustaining them, humbling them to make sure that they know that He is the only One that to Whom, they can depend on. And that they would live humbly and dependently towards God. And this is the same thing for us.
A constant reminder of the truth of God, the gospel, His word, His promises that are contained in the scripture stirs us up into gospel- centered living. A constant reminder of the truth stirs us up unto gospel- centered living.
In my past job, mayroon kaming kung tawagin ay “panatang pricelist.” So every morning, the boss would come in; he would make everyone stand up. And he will ask us to recite the pricelist. So – “make and model, what is th price, make and model, what is the price. 15 items doon sa pricelist na iyon.” We do that because when customers asks for the price, we must be able to answer quickly. Hindi pwedeng, “ Sir, ichcheck ko po muna.” It would be a bad experience in his estimation. He does that not because he thinks that we are fools, but it is for us to become effective in our duty. Same is true – we need to be reminded of the gospel. It has to be resurfaced to us all the time! Because whenever we hear the gospel, whenever it is brought to our remembrance, we are pointed back to the reality of: Our HOPE. Who we are now in Christ.
How we ought to live – knowing that we belong to Him and that we are part of His people, and to understand that in Him, we find our sufficient resource in order for us to live our christian lives. And it calls us to continually pursue the knowledge of Him as He has revealed Himself in His word. Without the regular reminder, of the gospel, imagien yourself not hearing or being reminded of the gospel every Lord’s day. We’ll be forced to place our hope on earthly rulers, on earthly things that are temporary. We’ll be left to feed upon the wisdom of the world. Kung ano na lang iyung nags-sound nice or whateveris effective that is being taught of the world. We will be led to think, feel, and even do what is right in our own eyes. And shortly, we find ourselves falling into sin until we sear our consciences…until even ma-rebuke tayo, even if God’s word would clearly tell you that what you’re doing is a sin and you need to repent from it. When we find ourselves in that situation, even though we know and acknowledge na makasalanan ka sa Panginoonm, you will find it hard to get yourself out of it. And so be warned that sooner or later, we can set, we could also separate ourselves from the fellowship with fellow brothers and sisters from the church or worse, there is a danger also of denying the faith.. APOSTACY.
The world will constantly make its effort to draw our attention from the word into the world. Insisting that there is a better way for us to live our lives. Thereby, engaging us daily and moment-by-moment in a warfare para labanan ang mga thoughts na, ina-advance nila sa atin. And not to mention, our hearts, our flesh are prone to wander and can grow cold and we can be so accustomed to the Truth that we take it for granted. The reality of these challenges we face does not mean that- sige, i-give up na lang natin. No! We don’t give up. On the contrary, all the more that we need to hear the gospel! All the more that it has to be pressed unto us. We need to remember our great God Who NEVER FORGETS His promises found in the gospel of Christ. That through Him we call God as our Father. Through His person and work, we are justified before Him. That we are sealed by the Holy Spirit, Who is the guarantee of our inheritance. Kailangan nating maalala ang mga bagay na ito, kapatid. And so because of all of these gracious promises, as you hear the gospel being preached to you. As you are able to read about the gospel; you hae your own materials in your personal devotions, let me challenge you: Joyfully receive the reminders of the gospel and our blessings in Christ.
Minsan, paulit-ulit na lang; it can be, pwede mong sabihin na parang, ‘alam ko na iyan heh.’ Or narinig ko na Iyan before.’ But brethren, kapatid, kaibigan, rekindle your appreciation as you constantly hear the gospel. And mind you, this message is not gonna change anytime. You will constantly hear the gospel which is our Hope, every Lord’s Day. We will strive to always present Christ because Siya lang ang ating PAG-ASA. Siya lamang ang makaka-redeem sa ating mga kasalanan, makaka- redeem sa atin sa ating mga kasalanan. And so are you thankful that you have the privilege to regularly hear the gospel preached to you? Are you thankful, that you are able to sit down to a faithful preaching of God’s word. Have you been grateful for the wealth of the resources that we have at the present time? That we can go back, hundred, hundreds of years back so that we can benefit from the writings of the Puritans themselves? from the church fathers. And ultimately we have access to the scriptures so that we can ground our understanding of who God is based on His word as He has revealed Himself in His inerrant and ifallible word? As a Christian, who knows and are established in this Truth, how did you benefit from regularly hearing the gospel? Siguro hindi pa natin ito natatanong sa sarili natin. We may have articulated it in one way or another but just answer that question and you would have a profound appreciation of the fact that you are reminded of it regularly. However, there’s also a flipside wherein we can also be tempted to think that I’ve gone through that in the past. In fact, nakapag-theology course na ako. I’ve learned about the gospel being preached to us. I have heard our favorite preachers talking about the same thing. Like a movie na parang sinabi mo na: ‘Ay napanood ko na iyan. Hindi ko na kailangang balikan Iyan.” Pero such temptation, when such temptations are being presented to you by the enemy, pray to God that you would, you would, give it the grace to resist it and be quick to know that we need to regularly hear the hope that we have in Christ.
Because we need His Word to remain steady! To REMIND ourselves of the great and precious promises of God given to us in the gospel of Christ and the duties that we have being part of His people. That we have all spiritual resources in Him for life and godliness so that we can have the strength for all season. And that the holy life unto God would enable us to be useful and fruitful for His work. Imagine..just a minue lang, imagine now..I’m not saying and I’m not desiring that this would happen. That every Lord’s Day, we would gather, okay, no gospel. We would gather, there’s no preaching of the word. Your bibles, banned. It will be taken out of your hands. The resources that you have, burned.
What do you think? Can you still imagine your life as a christian? Not having the word of God accessible to you? Para tayong nasa Dark Ages, right. You remember in, before the time of the Reformation. People coming to the church, hearing the word of God preached in Latin, not in their own vernacular or language. You don’t understand the hope that you have in Christ. And so be thankful that we have a privilege to be reminded of it week in, week out, day in, day out, moment by moment. Meron pa tayong mga podcasts, meron pa tayong mga access online.
Maximise and be thankful for all those resources that enable us to hear that hope that we have in Christ regularly. And if you are not in Christ, if you haven’t given your life to Christ, you’re not a christian,after listening to this sermon, DO NOT FORGET the fact that you are a sinner and thtat you are dead in your trespasses and sins; there’s nothing you can do to save yourself from your misery. And if you have heard this before, let me have the privilege again to REMIND you..siguro nai-share na ito ng inyong family members sa inyo. But let me remind you again that the only hope that you have that could save you from your sins, is none other than the one who came, Who’s the God-man, Who lived a perfect life, Who died as a sacrifice for sinners in our stead, na dapat tayo ang makakatanggap, Who rose again from the dead after the third day, telling us that He has accomplished the work of salvation, and there is none other than our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. What we have to do is to turn away from our sins and place our faith in the one Who has conquered death..It is Christ. Run to him! Place your faith in Him. He is your only Hope. He alone can save you and He promises that He will! And so brothers, sisters and friends, see how important it is to be reminded of Who God is of the gospel; what He has done in Christ, and ask God to rekindle our excitement to awaken us to this great message of salvation that only Christ can and have accomplished.
Beware also of forgetting, neglecting and being complacent in hearing this message. As we regualarly hear it being preached, being read in our resources, let us be grateful. And now, understanding that this is the great TRUTH, na binigay ng Panginoon para sa atin, it changes our lives into one that ought to be fruitful and useful to the Lord. We will be looking at the second thing, the Steadfast Resolve.
The Apostle Peter had an idea na mamamatay na siya, that his death is soon and if you were in his position, you may shrink into fear. Now fear has a, has a way of stopping or debilitating, and immobilizing people. When we receive threats, we make careful thoughts as to what we would do in next move.
And knowing that we’re about to die would certainly give us the best reason to say that ‘I quit.’ I will not do this anymore. But it wasn’t the case with the Apostle Peter. At the face of the greatest threat that he is facing, much of his concern was not in himself, it is for the church.
He says that he’ll minister to them and stir them up by way of reminder for as long as he lives. He says in Verse 15, “…make every effort” or to put it in another way, he’ll exert MAXIMUM EFFORT in doing so, that even after he’s dead and gone, maaalala ng church ang hope na meron sila in Christ. He had such a profound love for the church that he wanted to ensure that they don’t just know the truth, but are FIRMLY ESTABLISHED in it. And that the waves of the false doctrines, kahit dumating iyon sa kanila, will not make them waver or be swayed by their teachings or deceitfulness. And here we could see his STEADFAST RESOLVE. He’s all in for the sake of the churches he’s ministering to.He’s willing to be expended for their benefit in order that being God’s people they would share His excellence. Not Peter’s excellence, but Gidd’s excellence. Not just because he knows that he is dying, but despite of the fact that he knows that he is already dying! An enduring service for God and His people must characterise believers. Because of what it does
– it saves and sanctifies His people! But the word of truth and ultimately, because it is Christ Himself who is building His church. That doesn’t mean na hindi na tayo kikilos. That doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t do anything nor it’s ONLY Jesus and only Him who hould do the work of bulding His church. But He is using His people and gave us His Great Commission which we have also tackled in briefly in our Sunday school earlier To go into all the world to make disciples of all nations.
Baptising them in the Name of the Father and the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Teaching them to observe all that He has commanded them and He assures the church that He is with them until the nd of the age. And what we notice here is that it all goes back to our SUFFICIENT RESOURCE! It is Christ Himself. As we know, this task that has been given to the church is difficult. Impossible ito on our own. Discouragement is constant. The people you love in the relationships you value can be affected. We can be harmed, we can be persecuted or we will be persecuted rather and may experience great hardship because of waht we hold. In the case of Peter, he can be weighed down by threats against his life. The Apostle Paul, as we have studied in Second Timothy, was imprisoned bound in chains by of preaching the gospel. However, since Christ is the one establishing His church, building His church, the efforts of the enemies of the gospel will never succeed.
Remember in the Book of Acts, the Acts of the Apostles whenever the early church is being persecuted. We don’t read there that it hindered the spread of the gospel. Rather, nakikita natin, lalo pang nai-spread yung gospel. Whenever the church is persecuted, it only makes them further go into all the world to make disciples and to continually bring the gospel into all of the nations. Going back to the Apostle Paul, we’ve said that he was bound in prison but he himself said that the Word of God is not bound! Having that in mind should remind us that it does not only, it does not ultimately depend on us. Hindi ito naka-depende sa atin. While He is gracious in gifting the church according to His grace, for the edification of the saints and the salvation of sinners, it doesn’t stop there! The ball doesn’t sa atin. We simply serve as means that carry out His purposes in glorifying Himself in the salvation of sinners through Jesus Christ. And think about it for a second, brethren, The THRICE HOLY God Whom we have sinned against! Redeemed us, chooses us in Him, before the foundation of the world, through His electing loving grace. He chose us in Christ to have the privilege to share in the joy of seeing people getting saved. Call us to share in proclaiming the good news of salvation in Christ, for the salvation of the lost and the saints’ well-being. That should be enough to get us going. In other words, the gospel itself is our motivation. The gospel itself is our motivation. And since the gospel is our motivation, I challenge you know to reflect constantly; reflect regularly, reflect upon God’s love demonstrated in Christ and let it motivate you unto faithful service. This means that our driving force as we live daily before God, as we serve others, is the love of God given to unworthy sinners like you and I in Jesus Christ. Others are compelled, or driven in the ministry, quote- unquote for selfish means. But the true ministers of the gospel must be characterised by a healthy fear before God and the recognition that it is a stewardship that He has given to the church. And ultimately the love of Christ that controls, that compels our hearts to humble and joyful service. However, there could also be a tendency that we get our motivation from anything but CHRIST. We can get our motivation from anything but CHRIST.You may consider yourself active in the ministry and have yourself involved in a lot of it. But the question is, again, what is driving you? What makes you stay the course? And the last thing we’d like to happen is that you’re in it for the wrong reason! On the other hand, we’re all caught up with our own agenda, pwedeng masyado tayong pre-occupied sa ating sarili, mga self-concern natin that we fail to see the needs of others. Not realising that it is God Himself Who is using you to serve your brother or your sister in love, to fulfill the need of a brother and sister to show love to our neighbour to bring the gospel to them if they are not yet believers. And if that’s where you are, look to our Lord who came not to be served but to serve and to give His life as a ransom for many. Which by the way, He didn’t have to do for unworthy siners like you and I.
Looking back in church history, it is well known that John Bunyan spent 12 years in prison. And if you don’t know John Bunyan, at huminto ako sa story na iyon, that he was imprisoned for 12 years, you might think that if he knew that, ah, yeah, he’s a pastor. I guess he was hindered to preach the gospel. But no! You know what happened 12 years being in prison? He pastored the inmates. He made gospel tracts in order to preach the gospel. He wrote books, of which we are still benefiting from. Being in prison, The Holy War, The Grace Abound in the Chief of Sinners, those books. When he got out of prison, ung nakalaya siya sa kulungan, he stopped and learned his lesson, hindi na niya ginawa iyon afterwards kasi nadala na sya? No. Hindi iyon ang nangyari sa story. He continued pastoring, he continued preaching the gospel, he continued writing, he became even more fruitful for the work of the Lord. The consequences of preaching the gospel amid hostility did not stop John Bunyan in continuing to spread the gospel and fulfilling the ministry of the Lord. But how about you and I? We have the freedom in this country to really share the gospel. We are not being physically hindered. But how are we making ourselves available to spread the gospel to the lost? Have we been maximising our time to continually talk about Christ to others? To your fellow brothers and sisters? And may God be merciful and gracious to us as well, giving us strength to be faithful in the ministry that He has given us. In our calling as saints and carrying out His stewardship that He has given us.
And so see, brothers and sisters and friends, God’s goodness in the constant reminders of His promises, our blessed privileges of being His people, and the hope found in our Lord and Saviour, who never nor will ever forget to be gracious to those who are His.
Let’s pray. Truly oh God, You are good and merciful, and gracious. That to us who are often forgetful people, You give reminders of your truth. That we would go back to the reality of the gospel. So that again and again, we would be reminded of our hope that is only found in Jesus Christ. And oh Lord, we cannot imagine our lives as we go on withoout it. We don’t want to grope and grip on things that are being fed to us by the world knowing that it doesn’t give hope. We don’t want to feed upon the junks of the wisdom of the world. But we want to feed upon the wisdom that is found in the cross of Christ. We want to feed upon His, His gospel. The beauty of what He has done for us in the cross two thousand years ago. And oh Lord, may this reality stir us up as we serve each other, as we serve one another, as we love our neighbours, as we love ourselves. And on the times that we fail, oh Lord, may we constantl go back to the reality that You have redeemed us. And oh, Lord, may You sustain each of us. Oh Lord, continue to grant us grace that we would desire this more than anything. That we would desire truth, and that we would long to aily and moment by moment feed upon the gospel of Christ. Oh Lord, continue to sustain us oh God, and may You be glorified in each of our lives and in this church. In Christ’s Name we pray, Amen.