Thursday, May 27, 2010

II Peter 3: 1-2 The Heart of a Pastor—Part Deaux

I love Peter. Without question, he is my favorite person in the Bible. If there was a “Golden foot” award for sticking your foot up to the middle of your thigh into your mouth, my boy Peter would have won that. Honestly, you read some of his stuff and it’s like his philosophy was “Ready, fire, AIM!!” I picture him as this kind of flinty eyed guy that every time he opened his mouth, his friends would cringe because they had no idea what would come out. I mean, when he got it right, he got it really right (“You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God”). And when he got it wrong, it was very, very wrong (“I’m going to wash your feet” “Nuh-uh” “Peter, I am going to wash your feet” “Well, if you’re going to do that, why don’t you go ahead and give me a bath”). However, at the heart of it all, we see Peter, the big fisherman, had a heart that was even bigger than his mouth. We see, here, in these verses how much he cared for these people to whom he wrote and how he wanted to encourage their faithfulness to Christ.

As he wrote in chapter one, he reminds those people he considers “beloved” in the first verse of this chapter that this is the second letter he has written them. However, this was not just a social call. Peter had a very specific purpose in mind when he wrote these believers. As we have studied chapter 2, we have seen Peter exhort these believers to shun false teachers due to the deadly false doctrine they purvey. He told them what they taught and what they looked like so these Christians could avoid them. Therefore, as he says here, this second letter is a vehicle by which he is able to go about “stirring up [their] sincere mind[s]”. The word translated “stirring up” has the literal idea of rousing someone from sleep which, considering Peter’s nap in the garden of Gethsemane, is pretty ironic. The point here is that believers need to be diligent. Peter’s epistle, then, is a call to diligence. This is not a time to be catnapping or frittering away time. People are lost, dying, and going to hell. False teachers are misleading them with false gospels. We’re the ones responsible for proclaiming the gospel and calling all men and women to repent and trust Christ and in the face of such overwhelming opposition we had better get busy. This is not the time to be a spiritual couch potato.

In addition, notice the mindset Peter calls for in this verse. He says he is trying to stir up their “sincere minds”. The words “sincere” translates a Greek word that means pure or unadulterated. These people needed to be single minded about the gospel and the proclamation of biblical truth. Brothers and sisters, we need that same sincere mind today. Do you view your work/school/whatever as your mission field? Yes, you go to work and do the best job you can but is your focus on how you can use your job to win the lost and proclaim the gospel? Friend, it needs to be. Our minds need to be so focused on the gospel that everything else is secondary. I pray that Peter’s epistle has caused you to realize that as we’ve studied together.

Further, notice the substance of his reminder. He doesn’t say that they should take a survey and see what the demographics are in their neighborhood or canvas the area to find out what people’s felt needs are so that the church can meet them. He doesn’t suggest that they adjust how they dress, how long the sermon is, or what kind of music they use. He says in verse 2 that they should “remember the words spoken to [them] beforehand by the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and savior spoken by your apostles”. There it is—the sum total of what the church should be focused on remembering. We have the writings of the apostles and the commandments of the Lord collected for us today while they were still being written and compiled when Peter lived. The focus, the message, of the church as we see it here and we hear it from Peter who we know to be a loving pastor is the entirety of the Bible—the Old (prophets) an New (apostles) testaments. How many times do we hear of preachers preaching and churches teaching everything except the word of God? It happens far too often. However, Peter is a faithful undershepherd who loves and cares for the flock of God. Here he gives this church the best advice one could give any church—keep the study and proclamation of the Bible first place. It’s that important.

I pray that you will heed these words of Peter and, along with me, commit to constantly hold the study and preaching of the word of God as the highest priority of the church. It is by the truth of that word that we were saved and that we mature as believers. Furthermore, it is by the truth of that word preached that God will call those whom He will to salvation.

1 comment:

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