EBible Fellowship Sunday Bible Study – 31-May-2009


by John McOwen


Our reading this morning will begin in 2 Peter 1.  I am going to read the first fifteen verses.  Our theme today is going to be putting certain things in remembrance.  I would like you to pay attention as we read the first fifteen verses because the word “remembrance” will come up three times.  This is going to be the focus of what has been written in this passage, so I would like you to pay attention and mindful of this as we read beginning in verse 1, 2 Peter 1:1-15: 

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, 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 [or love]. 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. Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. 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 showed me. Moreover I will endeavour that ye may be able after my decease to have these things always in remembrance. 

We will end our reading here.  As I mentioned in the prelude, the word “remembrance” is found three different times in the first fifteen verses of this chapter. 

So we want to ask ourselves this question this morning.  What things does God want us to put in remembrance and why?  What is the whole point here?  What things are of value that He wants to reiterate and that He wants us to learn?  So this is the whole point of what we are going to try to study this morning together: putting things in remembrance. 

There is a saying in the world today that learning is remembering.  Is this not true?  We memorize different things.  For example, if we have a spelling test for school, we have to try to memorize the definitions of the words.  If you want to get good at any science or discipline in life, you have to remember certain things.  At any job that you might have, you have to remember to do certain things consistently or how to do certain things technically in order to be effective at your job. 

So God is telling us here to put things in remembrance and this is what we want to focus on in this chapter.  What is it that we are being asked or told to put in remembrance? 

The first thing is found in verse 3, 2 Peter 1:3.  He says: 

According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness… 

So these things pertain to “life and godliness” in this life.  This is our purpose.  We have a life and we want to live it in a godly fashion.  Here He is saying: 

…through the knowledge of him that hath called us… 

So we have through the knowledge of God, in this case, given to us:

…glory and virtue: 

The first word that I want to look at here is “virtue.”  He “hath called us to…virtue” in 2 Peter 1:3, and so what does the word “virtue” mean to you today? 

As we read this in the English, we see the word “virtue”; but we do not use this word a lot today, as in, “Someone is virtuous.”  At least I do not use this word a lot in my vocabulary, but you might. 

So what does it mean to have virtue?  It really has to do with a standard of what is right.  Someone who is virtuous is someone who is holding to a standard that is right.  This is what God is saying here when He speaks of having virtue. 

This word is also in Philippians 4:8.  Let me just read this.  This is a very familiar verse if you are familiar with the Bible.  If you remember, this chapter talks about, “Be careful (or anxious) for nothing.”  So if you are full of anxiety and disconcert, God can calm you through these verses in Philippians, as we read in Philippians 4:8: 

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true… 

These are the beginnings of the definitions of what virtue is. 

…whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. 

So virtue is in some of the things that are written here: what is true, what is honest, what is just.  This is what virtue is.  It is conforming to a standard of what is right, and what is right is what is true and just and honest.  There is a conscience that God has put in us that is sensitive to His Word, His truth, and virtue means to conform to that standard. 

So Peter here, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, is encouraging us to remember virtue, to remember to be virtuous, to confirm to that standard of what is right and to not slip from it.  This is one of the first things that God encourages us with here, to be virtuous. 

Let us go back to 2 Peter 1 and pick up more things that we are to be in remembrance of.  Let us take a look at the next verse, verse 4.  2 Peter 1:4: 

Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature…   

What does it mean to be a partaker of the “divine nature”?  Would this not be to be like God, to be holy?  God says, “Be ye holy; for I am holy.” 

And we are now adding something else to virtue:   

…having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. 

So this is part of partaking in God’s “divine nature.”  It is escaping “the corruption that is in the world through lust.” 

So by the definition that we just read, where does most of the corruption come from?  What is corrupt?  We say that there is corruption in the Mob in today’s businesses and their underground activity.  But what does this mean?  How does this corruption happen? 

It happens “through lust.”  So we are to escape “the corruption that is in the world through lust,” because lust is what leads to the corruption.  And lust can be in all of our hearts, can it not?  And lust can mean a lot of different things, as far as what I lust after or what I am seeking after that is not virtuous. 

This is the whole point here.  We are lusting after things that are not virtuous; because in our human nature, we have this desire in our human flesh that lusts after certain things that may or may not be right.  When they are not right, God is telling us to be in remembrance that we need to escape this corruption. 

What are some things that you might still be lusting after today?  You need to answer this in your own heart and in your own mind.  Maybe there is one thing in your life that is difficult for you to give up or for you to get your mind off of. 

One lust could be for money, which is an easy sin to fall into.  Most of us have heard the term, “Money makes the world go round.”  It makes life a lot easier and more pleasurable and enjoyable. 

What else could it be?  It could be having a certain status.  It could be the adulation of my peers or family or society, depending on my position.  It could be cars, to lust after the glitzy, shiny, new car that you really, really, really want.  You think about this far too often and too much of your focus is on this.  Or maybe it is sex.  This is something that is oftentimes elevated in the Bible as something that we lust after, the opposite sex and in a wrong situation. 

So God is telling us to remember the fact that to have this “divine nature,” we need to escape “the corruption that is in the world through lust.”  Therefore, lust is what you need to take hold of.  And there could be other things that I did not mention.  I just mentioned a few.  But you have to answer this in your own heart as to something that has you inordinately focused, something that you should not have or something that you should not be focused on today. 

Let us go on to verse 5.  He tells us to remember a lot of different things in this passage.  We read in 2 Peter 1:5: 

And beside this… 

We have talked about being virtuous, escaping corruption through the lust that is in your own body.  Now He says: 

And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue… 

He says, “giving all diligence.”  So before we go on, what does it mean to be diligent?  This is a word that we use a lot today.  Dedicated is a good synonym for diligence.  Tenacious is another great word. 

When we think of someone who is diligent, it is someone who is really focused and tenacious on following something through, whatever the discipline is.  Maybe someone is very diligent at work.  Maybe you know a diligent mom, someone who is always caring for the needs of her children or the home.  Whatever it may be, the person is applying perseverance to whatever is front of them.  In doing so, they are being very diligent. 

So God says to be very diligent about these attributes.  In other words, you cannot just read what we are reading here on Sunday and expect this to happen.  You cannot just hear it this morning and then think that you are not going to lust after a particular thing anymore just because we read that Gold told us to remember this. 

This “corruption that is in the world” is due to an inordinate lust.  To be diligent means that I have to constantly remind myself of this every day.  For example, are you going to remember your spelling and vocabulary words if you just look at them on one day?  If you have a test three days later and you do not review them the night before or a couple of nights in a row, then you are probably not going to get all of them correct. 

Being diligent is having a constant, tenacious, persevering focus and application on what is in front of you, and God is saying to remember this.  So if you or I need to read this chapter every day, then that is what we need to do in order to remember this, because the opportunity to lust after something is all around us. 

So He says in 2 Peter 1:5: 

…add to your faith virtue… 

We have already talked about this.  Virtue means conforming to a standard of right. 

…and to virtue knowledge; 

What is knowledge?  This is an easy word.  What do you think that this means here?  Jim said, “God’s Word,” and he is right about that because the primary definition of this Greek word is “knowing or having knowledge of spiritual truth.”  It means to be familiar with and to understand spiritual truth.  So adding to virtue knowledge means to understand spiritual things, which is only going to come through studying the Word of God. 

Let us look at Luke 1 where we will underscore knowledge in a little bit more detail.  We read in Luke 1:68-69: 

Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for he hath visited and redeemed his people, And hath raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David;

So this is the context.  Now let us read verse 77, Luke 1:77: 

To give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins,

So here is the knowledge that God is referring to.  The “knowledge of salvation” is the most important knowledge that the Bible encourages us in.  This is the knowledge that we are to be mindful of and diligent in, the knowledge of God’s Word.  This is because the whole Bible is about the “knowledge of salvation” and the remission of sins.  Salvation is the washing and cleansing away of our sins. 

So here we see that the knowledge that we are to be diligent in pursuing is spiritual knowledge, in other words, of salvation.  This is talking about the knowledge of salvation and God’s truth. 

Let us go back to the book of Philippians in the New Testament.  We will see this same Greek word for knowledge in Philippians 3:8.  It says: 

Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge…

So let us listen to what this knowledge is about: 

…of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, 

So what is Paul interested in?  He is interested in the “the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord.” 

In Luke 1, God referred to the “knowledge of salvation” and they are one and the same thing.  This is what Jesus Christ is all about.  He is the Saviour, “Thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.” 

So for the “knowledge of salvation,” for this spiritual truth, Paul said:   

…I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung… 

This is because they do not matter.  The other things are very, very inconsequential compared to “the knowledge of Christ Jesus.” 

The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us,” so this Bible is the very essence of Jesus Christ.  This is what we have today and this is why we should be reading it and studying it every single day of our lives.  We need this.  I am speaking to myself as well as to everybody else.  I am in the same category.  I need to read this and study it every day in order to have this virtue, to have a standard of right that I would conform to in order to be more like God.  Therefore, to be putting these things in remembrance is necessary. 

Then in verse 6, 2 Peter 1:6, He says:    

And to knowledge temperance… 

If you are young, you probably do not know this word.  We have not heard this word too much, but this is a word that was used much more in this country many years ago concerning certain things.  Does anyone know what this means?  It means self-control. 

What was the Temperance Movement all about in this country many decades ago?  The Temperance Movement had to do with eliminating alcohol from the country.  There was an illegalization of alcohol for which there was a reason.  This was because alcohol typically led to a whole lot of negative behavior and bad sins.  So there was a righteous reason as to why the Temperance Movement started here, although today it does not exist. 

So what are the areas of your life that you need to exercise self-control over?  I ask myself this question and I ask you for this introspection.  Look inside your own heart today and ask yourself, “Where do I need to exercise self-control?”  Am I angry too quickly?  Is there something else that is not good for me?  Is it a bad habit?  Is it a bad character trait that does not manifest Christian light to other people?  Or is it another thing that I am lusting after in which I do not exercise self-control over? 

God says here in 2 Peter 1:6: 

And to knowledge… 

So if you know what is right, if you are reading the Word and you are understanding what is right, add to this knowledge temperance.  If you understand that something is wrong, you are to put it under control.  This is not easy to do, so God says to keep it in remembrance.  We are to keep remembering the consequences of sin and the joy of obedience.  Is not the joy that you have in obedience far greater than when you do fall and lack that self-control and indulge in whatever sin it may be? 

Then He goes on to say in verse 6, 2 Peter 1:6: 

…and to temperance patience… 

Patience should be an easy word.  What does this mean?  Waiting is a good synonym for patience.  One of the primary definitions of this word is “bearing pains or trials calmly and without complaint.”  Is this not a good definition of the word “patience”?  This bears repeating, “bearing pains or trials calmly and without complaint.” 

How many of us complain when things are not right, when things do not go right for us?  Perhaps it is an injustice.  Maybe it is something that we believe is just not fair.  Maybe we are enduring suffering, for whatever reason, and we are having a hard time being patient about it. 

Romans 5:3 defines this patience, so let us read this: 

And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also…   

So there are tribulations and trials in our lives. 

…but we glory in tribulations… 

Why is this being said? 

…knowing that tribulation worketh patience; 

How many of you have been through difficult times in your life?  It could be anything.  It could be a tragedy.  It could be the splitting up of a family.  It could be death.  It could be physical pain.  It could be a calamity in your own life.  There could be a job loss.  There are a lot of different things; but through this tribulation, you learn patience.  Then when you look back on this at a later time, you have a much calmer demeanor about whatever it was because God got you through it and you see that it was not quite the big deal that you had made it out to be.  It did not consume you and kill you, so-to-speak. 

Romans 2:7 speaks about this, too.  It says: 

To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life: 

So the promise here is concerning “eternal life” as God directs us to a “patient continuance” in what? 

…in well doing…

How many of us lose patience with someone whom we are constantly nice to, accommodative to, and yet we are not getting anything back?  You are not receiving anything positive in return. 

Here God is saying: 

…by patient continuance in well doing… 

So continue in whatever you are doing well, regardless of receiving reciprocity or not.  This is because God says that in seeking eternal life, this is the right thing to do. 

Well, He says in 2 Peter 1:6: 

…and to patience godliness; 

If someone refers to you as a godly person, what do they mean?  What does it mean to be godly?  Does it mean to be holy and to conduct your life in a holy manner like God is?  God says, “Be ye holy; for I am holy.” 

Let us look at 2 Peter 3:11.  This whole chapter is talking about the end of the world.  The earth and the heavens will be dissolved in that “fervent heat,” that geenna fire, the hellfire that we read about in the Bible.  So here in 2 Peter 3:11, He says: 

Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved… 

In other words, all of this stuff around us is going to be dissolved soon. 

….what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation [conduct] and godliness,

Here is that word “godly.”  We are to have a holy conduct and godliness.  This is because, again, if your conduct is holy—since God says, “Be ye holy; for I am holy”—then you are being godly. 

So God says here again that since all of this is going to be dissolved, be holy because this is what matters.  This is what will last.  This is what is at issue here. 

So when the rubber meets the road and you are faced with a difficult decision or dilemma, remember that all of this is going to be dissolved.  Let this knowledge help get you through anything in order to conduct yourself in a holy manner.  Do the right thing.  Act in accord with how God would have you to act, according to the Word of God with the different attributes that we are to employ in our lives if we have a saved soul within us. 

Let us go back to 2 Peter 1.  We are to put these other things in remembrance.  There are just two more things that we are going to look at today to put in remembrance.  In 2 Peter 1:7, we read: 

And to godliness brotherly kindness…    

Brotherly kindness” in the Greek is the word for “brotherly love.”  This word in the Greek that the word philadelphia came from means The City of Brotherly Love.  Has anyone ever been to Love Park around 15th Street and JFK Blvd?  It has that big “LOVE” sign in red letters, “LO” and then underneath “VE” and then there is a big fountain.  This is a landmark and it is a picture on a lot of the vacation literature for people who or thinking about coming to the Philadelphia area to see the historic sites in this area. 

Philadelphia is known as The City of Brotherly Love, but what does it mean to have “brotherly love”?  This is what the Bible is referring to here.  If you are acting godly, add to that “brotherly kindness.”  So what does it mean to have “brotherly love”? 

Let us look at Romans 12:10 because God defines this for us.  He says something to help us to understand a little bit better about what it means to have “brotherly love.”  Gary and I were having this discussion earlier in the back of the room about being outgoing and friendly to people whom we have not met before in order to welcome them and to help them to feel accepted.  In Romans 12:10, God says: 

Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love… 

So part of having “brotherly love” is being “kindly affectioned” towards someone else, and then it continues to say: 

…in honour preferring one another; 

So what does this mean?  This means to put someone else’s needs ahead of your own.  A simple example is just to let someone else go ahead of you. 

I went for a blood test earlier this week in Philadelphia on my way into work.  Almost at the exact same time, another person and I got to the same door.  He stepped back and he let me go in front of him.  I just said, “Thank you very much.”  Maybe he had to go to work, maybe he did not.  I had to, so I accepted his kindness. 

This would be an example of “brotherly love” just in terms of what it means to be “kindly affectioned” or showing a preference for someone other than yourself.  It is showing someone else honor and putting them first. 

This is what it means if you are acting godly, if you have virtue.  If you are adding to these things the knowledge of God’s Word, then you should be putting other people first.  It could be your spouse or your family or whomever; because even though there are roles within the family structure, you are putting other people’s needs first. 

I asked Gabrielle earlier about her birthday tomorrow and whether or not there was anything special going on.  I thought perhaps she might have a birthday dinner.  This is because her family will celebrate her special day.  It is her day.  It is her birthday, so she will be put first.  If she wants to go someplace special to eat or have a particular meal, maybe that is what Alison and Terry will do tomorrow night.  I do not know, but this is what it means to put someone else first in “brotherly love.”  It means that their needs are more important than your needs. 

What is the greatest need of your brother?  Is it not salvation?  So this should ultimately be what you share. 

Fred, Sal, and Jared were out this morning passing out the Word of God on the waterfront.  They did not know these people and I am sure that they did not run into anyone whom they knew.  But the strangers whom they came across and shared the Word of God with were people with whom they were practicing true “brotherly love” in the city of Philadelphia.  They were practicing this in the ultimate way on a spiritual level by passing out the Word of God. 

Gary was at Ocean City last week doing this same thing.  Many others of you also do this.  You are sharing the Word of God with people whom you do not even know.  They are strangers but they are your “brothers.”  So when you are doing this, you are giving that stranger not just the first spot in line but something far greater, which is the Word of God and the opportunity for salvation. 

So let us close with that last thing in verse 7, 2 Peter 1:7: 

…and to brotherly kindness charity [or love]. 

This is the agape love.  There are three Greek words in the New Testament for “love.”  This is agape love, so add to brotherly love agape love.  What is this? 

1 John 2:5 says this probably the best.  This is what it all comes down to.  Once again, there is so much similarity.  There are so many tie-ins to one and the same theme.  1 John 2:5 says: 

But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily [truly] is the love [agape] of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. 

Are you in Christ Jesus?  If you are keeping the Word of God, in you truly is the agape love of God perfected.  As you keep His Word, His love is perfected in you because He is perfect.  So we are back to the same thing. 

What was virtue, the very first thing that we started with?  We were to put certain things in remembrance, so we went down the list of eight different attributes today to be mindful of these things.  What was virtue?  It was conforming to a standard of right.  What is agape love?  It is keeping God’s Word. 

These things are very similar; therefore, we are back to the summary of reading the Word and studying it so that we know what it means and so that we can get energized and motivated and inspired to live it, especially since 2 Peter 3:11 told us:   

Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation [conduct] and godliness, 

We are to be like God.  He is Holy, “Be ye holy.”  We are to conform to His standards.  The only way that we can know what this is if we understand the Word of God by reading it daily.  We are to read it every day. 

So let us close this whole lesson with a summary, which is in the same chapter that we started in.  In 2 Peter 1, He kept saying to put these things in remembrance.  We listed eight things.  Virtue was one of them; agape love was the last one.  There were others that we also talked about.  Let us now read from verse 8, 2 Peter 1:8:

For if these things be in you… 

What we just talked about. 

For if these things be in you and abound… 

In other words, they are not to be just in our minds.  Maybe these things are even in our hearts, but we are not sharing them or doing them.  I know that a lot of you are putting feet under these ideas and living them.  You are a great example to all of us, as well as to others.  Some of us are doing it quietly in our lives. 

But here He says: 

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. 

You might know this stuff; but if you are not doing it, you are unfruitful.  You are a tree that is just not bearing fruit, which is “good for nothing” the Bible says. 

2 Peter 1:9: 

But he that lacketh these things… 

If you do not have these things, you are:

…blind, and cannot see afar off… 

In other words, you are not realizing that this earth is coming to an end and your life, too, and that these things that we are reading about in the Bible are what matters most. 

So if you do not have these things in you: 

…and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.

Then what?  2 Peter 1:10-11: 

Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence… 

We are back to diligence again and tenacity, a persevering application of this knowledge. 

…give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly… 

Where?  The whole point comes down to this: 

…into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. 

This is where we want to go.  This is the purpose of our whole point for living.  We are striving to get there. 

2 Peter 1:12: 

Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things… 

This is why we are to put these things in our minds.  We are to be mindful of the fact that this is all going to come to an end.  Eternal life is what it is all about.  This is what matters most. 

So do not forget these things.  Why?  Because they matter most. 

May God give each of us the ability to remember and to do, so that we abound and are fruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ, for the time is short. 

Do not be lazy.  Do not forget.  As the Bible warns here, do not be blind.  There is no excuse. 

May God give us the grace to be diligent and remember all of these things.  Amen.