Sermon Notes & References

The Prophetic Word Made Sure

2 Peter 1:16-21

November 17, 2019

1.  Introduction


2.  The Witness of Experience – (16-18)

     a.  An Important Narrative

          i.   This Is Not Fiction (16a)

          ii.  But a Solemn Message (16b) Footnote

          iii.  With Solid Evidence (16c) Footnote

          iv. Countersigned by God

                (1) Visibly (17a) Footnote

                (2) Audibly (17b)

     b.  A Credible Testimony (18)


3.  The Witness of the Word – (19-21)

     a.  Prophecy’s Power

          i.   Prophecy Confirmed (19a)

          ii.  Demands Attention (19b)

          iii.  Until All fulfilled (19c)

     b.  Prophecy’s Character

          i.   A Mystery (20) Footnote

          ii.  Not Human (21a) Footnote

          iii.  Divine (21b)


4.  Conclusion

Endnote  2 Peter 1:16-21. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Prophetic Word Made Sure


1.  Introduction

     a.  Peter is writing his second and last letter

          i.   which he began by recounting the blessings which are the birthright of every born again believer,

          ii.  the steps that believer should take to grow in his faith,

          iii.  and words he should remember on his way

          iv. for Peter would soon be leaving them and this world

     b.  now he turns to some truths they need to remember

          i.   so that they may be assured in times of doubt

          ii.  giving the most powerful form of Christian witness

          iii.  his personal testimony

          iv. confirmed by the Scriptures


2.  The Witness of Experience – (16-18)

     a.  An Important Narrative

          i.   This Is Not Fiction (16a) – “For we did not follow cleverly devised tales …”

                (1) Peter is saying that he, and the other disciples, and the various missionaries sent out by the church

                     (a) who were followers of the Lord, close followers

                     (b) were not following anything false

                (2) that word, ‘tales’, is ‘mythos’ in the Greek

                     (a) which means just what it sounds like: myths, made up stories

                     (b) stories such as told by the followers of the Greek & Roman gods

                     (c) as well as by false teachers who came out of the church but were not part of Christ’s church ... as there are today

                     (d) who cunningly warp the truth of God and the gospel

                     (e) men and women who put the shoe on the other foot and claim that the Bible is just a bunch of myths

                     (f)  which should become evident to us today is just not the case


          ii.  But a Solemn Message (16b) – “… when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, …”

                (1) here is summed up the truth of the incarnation

                (2) God entered the world as a man – Emmanuel – God with us

                     (a) but this was no ordinary man

                     (b) though He emptied Himself of His Divine prerogatives as we read in Philippians 2:5ff, yet His Divine power was with Him

                     (c) so that the lame walked, the deaf heard, the mute spoke, the blind saw, and dead were raised to life

                     (d) He came in power

                (3) this was the appearance of the Lord in His temple foretold by the prophets in many times and many ways

                     (a) the first phase of that appearance which the OT Scriptures elide together and leave us still waiting for the second phase, His triumphant return, in which He will judge the world in truth and righteousness

                     (b) and though “He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him.” (John 1:11)

                     (c) yet, “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name,” (John 1:12)

                     (d) so only those will be ready for that second coming


          iii.  With Solid Evidence (16c) – “… but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty.”

                (1) It was for this reason that we read the first few verses of John’s first letter – for there he gives eye witness in the same manner

                (2) and now, we read from John’s gospel to the same effect: “And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14)

                (3) as you read the OT, you find that the Presence of the Lord – be it in vision or Person, is usually marked by His glory and majesty

                     (a) it was this majesty that was manifest in Jesus

                     (b) such glory being the countersignature of Christ’s Deity

                     (c) to what event is Peter making reference here

                     (d) that showed this narrative to be …


          iv. Countersigned by God

                (1) Visibly (17a) – “For when He received honour and glory from God the Father, … “

                     (a) there were a number of such occurrences

                     (b) well-known is that taking place at his baptism

                          (i)  to which there were many witnesses

                          (ii) and on which we need not linger further today

                     (c) but equally well-known is the transfiguration on the mountain

                          (i)  read this in Luke 9:28-35 (this event is also recorded in Mark 9:2-8 & Matthew 17:1-5)

                          (ii) let us turn to that passage and read it

                (2) Audibly (17b) – “…, such an utterance as this was made to Him by the Majestic Glory, “This is My beloved Son with whom I am well-pleased” —”

                     (a) these are the words of the testimony of the ‘Majestic Glory’

                          (i)  who is, by the words spoken, God the Father

                          (ii) on behalf of God the Son

                          (iii)      of whom we have already read the testimony that upon Him was conferred both glory and majesty

                          (iv)     and that God had given to him honour and glory

                     (b) thus completing the witness to the Deity of Jesus


     b.  A Credible Testimony (18) – “and we ourselves heard this utterance made from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain.”

          i.   the OT Law was that facts were to be confirmed

                (1) in the mouths of two or three witnesses

                (2) a principle which holds true in our courts today

          ii.  so let us count the witnesses

                (1) there were Peter, James & John, two of the three still alive on earth

                (2) there was a prophet, Elijah

                (3) there was the prophet and law-giver, Moses

                (4) which meets the requirements both in heaven and on earth

                (5) and, indeed, the very testimony of God the Father, to which these bear record

          iii.  such then is Peter’s evidence

                (1) on the reality of Jesus being God in the flesh

                (2) from other than Jesus Christ Himself as would be required in a court of law

                (3) so that therefore He is the One to Whom we must pay attention


3.  The Witness of the Word – (19-21)

     a.  Prophecy’s Power

          i.   Prophecy Confirmed (19a) – “And so we have the prophetic word made more sure, …”

                (1) ‘Made more sure’ is a translation of the same word as found in verse 11 of this chapter: ‘make your calling & election sure’

                     (a) and like there on the reality of calling and election, here it has no effect on the reality of the prophetic word

                     (b) but rather it makes evident the truth that was always there

                (2) if you have read any writing explaining Biblical prophecy

                     (a) you have no doubt discovered

                     (b) the only unanimous opinion is to disagree

                (3) which is founded on the very nature of prophecy (to which we shall briefly look in a moment)

                     (a) that the fulfilment of God’s plans are so beautifully intricate

                     (b) that the full truth can only become apparent when fulfilled

                     (c) so that our limited human minds cannot understand them in their full glory, until they will undoubtedly take place

                (4) but, since they have been proven sure in the past

                     (a) in many points and incidents and John Urquhart has made clear in his book, “The Wonders of Prophecy’ Endnote

                     (b) so we can count on them in the future; therefore prophecy


          ii.  Demands Attention (19b) – “…, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place,…”

                (1) I am rapidly reaching the point where it is far from enjoyable for me to drive at night

                     (a) a time I never thought would come

                     (b) driving very early in the morning to work

                     (c) and even earlier to Montreal or Quebec city to arrive at the start of the office day there

                     (d) but now, the lights of oncoming cars bother me

                     (e) and sorting out what’s going on at intersections is difficult

                     (f)  because there are so many seemingly purposeless lights

                (2) but, in the middle of a dark night

                     (a) whether you are on land or sea

                     (b) one light, shining in the darkness, is a guide to take you into the harbour or destination

                (3) in those cases you do well to pay it great attention

                     (a) the words ‘to pay attention’ or ‘take heed’

                     (b) literally are ‘hold towards’

                          (i)  either of holding one’s face toward the speaker

                          (ii) or, perhaps, a nautical term, to hold one’s helm toward – that is steer to the light it gives

                (4) and such is true of the prophetic word which is given for our encouragement and guidance


          iii.  Until All Fulfilled (19c) –…, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts.”

                (1) there is coming a day, when this day of grace will end

                     (a) “the clouds be rolled back as a scroll”

                     (b) when Jesus Christ, the true bright and morning star

                     (c) will take up His kingdom

                     (d) and remove Lucifer the usurper, that false morning star

                     (e) who will have to yield up his rule of this fallen earth

                (2) here is our assurance to keep on the course we have begun

                     (a) and encouragement!


     b.  Prophecy’s Character

          i.   A Mystery (20) – “But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation,”

                (1) this does not mean, as the Roman church insists, that only the church can interpret Scripture: we believe that every Christian has the Spirit of God within to make God’s word understandable if we are willing to obey it.

                (2) rather, the word interpretation has the idea of explain, solve or untangle; in this sense, then,

                (3) prophecy, in its origin, does not come as a natural response

                     (a) neither to solve a problem of prophet’s own times

                     (b) nor as an answer to his own questions or thoughts

                     (c) nor to be understood by the prophet himself – for his receiving it is described in this way: “10 As to this salvation, the prophets who prophesied of the grace that would come to you made careful search and inquiry, 11 seeking to know what person or time the Spirit of Christ within them was indicating as He predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories to follow.” (1 Peter 1:10-11)


          ii.  Not Human (21a) – “for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, …”

                (1) prophecy, in 1 Corinthians 12, is listed as one of the spiritual gifts

                     (a) there were a couple in my youth who travelled the country, insisting that they could teach anyone to speak in tongues

                     (b) and I believe that they neither understood the true, Biblical nature of tongues

                     (c) nor the matter of spiritual gifts

                     (d) for in that chapter we are told, “But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills.” (1 Corinthians 12:11)

                (2) so the next point naturally follows:


          iii.  Divine (21b) – “…, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.”

                (1) that OT (and, for that matter, NT) prophecy was the result of the direct activity of God the Holy Spirit in the prophet

                (2) sometimes by visions, sometimes by the audible word of the Lord, and so in diverse times and ways, making known to man the will and purposes of God

                (3) keeping what was written free from error

                (4) so it is no small wonder that in the first coming of the Lord Jesus into the world, there was the direct and undeniable fulfilment of prophecy after prophecy in His birth, His early years, His ministry, His death and His resurrection


4.  Conclusion

     a.  if then, these thing be so

          i.   let us give to the words of Scripture in general

          ii.  and to the words of the Lord Jesus Christ in particular

          iii.  all the more earnest heed.

     b.  and tell them to those we meet

          i.   as our own personal witness that these things are true

          ii.  that Jesus is alive and our Lord

          iii.  for He lives and moves in our hearts.