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March 20, 2013

Text: “Therefore I intend always to remind you of these qualities, though you know them and are established in the truth that you have”. II Peter 1:12  cf. II Peter 3:1-2

 Peter penned two epistles to Christians in Asia Minor. In this second letter Peter stated that his purpose was to remind Christians of the teachings they had received from Christ and the apostles. He affirms that he knows that they are “established in the truth that you have.” They had long been Christians and had been well taught. So why remind these saints of what they had already learned? Because he knew that people tend to forget what they have been taught. (Think of algebra.)
Paul says the events of the Old Testament were written for our example and admonition. (I Corinthians 10:11) Thus we take Israel as an example of forgetfulness.
The entire book of Deuteronomy was spoken by God to Moses who then delivered these words to Israel in three addresses. God knows the weakness of his fallen creation, mankind. He foresees that most of these people crossing Jordan to enter Canaan will forget most of what He has told them.  Deuteronomy has markers all  through the book to stress the absolute necessity of remembrance of how he miraculously delivered Israel from bondage. “Remember the day you stood before the Lord your God at Horeb, when the Lord said to me, ‘Assemble the people to me., that I may let them hear My words  so they may learn to fear Me all the days they live on the earth, and that they may teach their children'” (Deuteronomy 4:10)  Deuteronomy 4:23a  uses the reverse way of saying much the same: “So watch yourselves , that you do not forget  the covenant of the Lord your God which He made with you…” All the way through this book and  most  of the others God leaves a trail of “remember” and ” don’t forget” to warn His people of the necessity to remember His reminders to be obedient and tell his deeds and words to their children for generations to come. He even relates what will happen if they disremember and fall away from Him.
The inspiring God of Israel left his stiff-necked people a multitude of memory devices to keep them in touch with Him and His commandments.
There was the Law of Moses, written on the tablets of stone. Deuteronomy 6:1-3
Then there was the Shema, a small portion of Scripture secured to each Israelite’s forehead or wrist so they had a memo to read with them each day. Deuteronomy 6:4-5, 8
God commanded them to teach the words of the Law to their children each day. Deuteronomy 6:6-7
Further, God gave them a covenant  (contract, agreement) between Him and the entire nation. Moses read the Laws of God to them and they ratified it by stating they would obey it. Exodus 24:7
Christians have many memorials. The greatest of these is the Lord’s Supper, a remembrance of His death, burial, and resurrection. I Corinthians 11:23-25
Of equal utility in promoting remembrance of God’s will is preaching. It is in God’s efforts to keep saints from deserting the faith that they hear the word that saves and strengthens saints. Paul directs Timothy to this end in II Tim 4:2; “…preach the word…reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction”. Notice the end of that exhortation: with great patience and instruction. That seems to me to mean “keep on persevering in preaching, and  giving instruction that is from God”.
Do those who have been Christians many years need to be repeatedly reminded? Must they listen to the same topics over and over again? Are they justified in resenting  being “preached at.”  Let’s turn the question around. How much of what they have been taught have they retained? Are you sure that you know everything you have heard? How much of what you have heard have you really applied?  James 1:22 gives you something to think about. “But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves”. The next three verses relate the story of a man who looks at himself in a mirror, sees a grizzled beard and a dirty demeanor, but he merely turns away without cleaning himself up. The mirror told the truth, but he chose to ignore it. He heard, but he did not do.
Important lesson:  Hear and Do!
One Comment
  1. May we always be willing to be reminded. We do so easily forget. Even though I have heard 75 years worth of preaching and classes, I still need to be reminded of the importance of the truth.

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