2 Peter Message #2 “The Transfiguration” Ed Miller Sept. 14, 2022

Listen to the audio above while following along with the transcript below (also available for download in Word from www.biblestudyministriesinc.com)

It’s so good to be back.  As we gather to look in the Word, we come to see the Lord Jesus again, and we need to trust the Holy Spirit to unveil Christ.  I want to give you this verse from John 6:45, “They shall all be taught of God.  Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me.”  So, you will know if you’re being taught of God if it leads to Jesus.  Everyone who is taught of God and learns from God comes to Jesus.  Let’s bow and commit our time to the Lord.

Heavenly Father, thank You again for the privilege that we have meeting together, trusting the indwelling Holy Spirit, looking in Your Word to behold the Lord Jesus.  Once again, Lord, we would ask you to unveil the Lord to our heart according to our need, according to our capacity, according to our hunger.  You know who we are and where we are.  Meet us there and take us where You would have us.  We ask in Jesus’ name.  Amen.

I pray you all had a refreshing and fruitful summer.  We had a very full summer and very rich.  One of the richest things we enjoyed was God’s people.  We got to fellowship with God’s people on both coasts.  Psalm 16:3, “As for the saints who are on earth, they are the majestic ones in whom is My delight.”  God calls Christians His majestic ones.  KJV says, “the excellent in whom is My delight.”  There’s no company greater than the children of God, than the people of God.  Thank the Lord for every chance you get to be with God’s people.  I couldn’t wait, actually, to get back to Bethany here, so we could share the Lord again.  You guys are the majestic ones, the excellent ones.  I thank the Lord for the summer and now I thank Him for this moment and for all the moments ahead.  Because He lives, we live.

You know the focus of our gathering together; we’ve mentioned it so many times.  We didn’t come to understand 2 Peter.  We’ve come to see the Lord, and if in the process of beholding Him we learn something about 2 Peter, well and good, but we are really here to see the Lord.  In our study and discovery of the Lord Jesus we’ve come to 2 Peter, a very short epistle, only three chapters.  Just before we closed in June we had one introduction lesson to 2 Peter, and at that time some were not able to attend, and so you might have missed that.  You can pick up the tape.  I don’t expect you to remember what we looked at three months ago, so let me just give you the heart of the epistle again, and the purpose that God the Holy Spirit decided to put that in the Bible.

What is the theme?  Now, I need to differentiate the theme of a book is not the same as the revelation of Christ in that book.  The revelation of Christ feeds into the theme, but the theme is different altogether.  I want to review a couple of characteristics and observations I made last time.  I made much of the fact that 2 Peter has been called the Swan Song of Peter.  In other words, Peter is writing it as if he was on his death bed.  These are the last words that we have recorded of the Apostle Peter.  2 Peter 1:13, “I consider it right as long as I am in my earthly dwelling to stir you up by the way of reminder, knowing that the laying aside of my earthly dwelling is imminent, as also our Lord Jesus Christ has made clear to me.”  So, Peter is facing imminent death.

In John 21 Jesus told Peter that he was going to die, and it would be a violent death, and it would be a martyr’s death, but I have an idea where he learned it was imminent was way after John 21.  When you read Peter’s testimony in chapter one, you see that even though he was facing imminent death and violent death, there was not one drop of anxiety in his heart as he faced death.  I’m only going to mention, and I’m not going to develop it again, as I developed it a little last time, but I want to show you in the light of his imminent death three descriptions he gives of death.  2 Peter 1:11, “In this way, the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, will be abundantly supplied to you.”  For Peter death was an entrance into the eternal kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ, and he says, “abundantly supplied,” whatever that means.  I think it means a grand entrance, a red carpet.  When a saint dies it’s all glory, mostly glory for Jesus, but also for the saint.  So, it’s an entrance into the eternal kingdom.

Then verse 14, “Knowing that the laying aside of my earthly dwelling is imminent, as the Lord Jesus made clear to me.”  He calls it the “laying aside of his earthly dwelling.”  Another translation calls it, “tabernacle,” a laying aside of the tabernacle.  For him, death was just pulling up tent pegs.  He’s moving on and he’s going into glory.  Finally verse 15, “I will also be diligent that at any time after my departure,” and the Greek word for departure is “exodus,” and I think you are familiar with exodus.  That was a great deliverance for the people of God.  He’s not only entering in.  He’s being delivered out, and it’s an exodus.  So, for Peter, death was nothing more than a grand entrance into the kingdom of the Lord, a tearing down of the temple body, the old tabernacle, and to have an exodus, a great deliverance.

To appreciate the revelation of Christ that Peter is going to present in this book, it’s helpful to know that Peter was at the end of his life.  Technically, although no one knows a hundred percent for certain, it would seem from chapter 3:1 that Peter wrote this shortly after he wrote 1 Peter.  He said, “This is now the second time I’m writing.”  It’s commonly accepted that Nero’s persecution began about 64 AD, and it was getting hot when he wrote 1 Peter.  You remember that he made a reference in 1 Peter 4:12, “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing has happened to you.”  It was literal, and they were being burned to death.  It’s generally accepted that Peter wrote his first epistle about, some say, 64 or 65 or 66 AD.  His second epistle was written no later than 67 AD, and according to historians he died in 68 AD.

The point I want to stress is that this is at least thirty years down the road since Jesus ascended to heaven, maybe thirty-five years.  In other words, Peter had been a Christian, I’m going to use the number thirty just as a round number, Peter has been a Christian for about thirty years.  We’re not certain how old Peter was; nothing tells us.  Most people think he was around the age of our Lord Jesus, or maybe slightly older.  It’s not important to pinpoint his age, but it’s important to know that he is at the end of his very checkered life.  If Peter were here today and said, “I’d like to look back in my life and give a testimony,” you better be prepared to stay a long time, because of so many experiences Peter had with the Lord Jesus.

In our introduction I stated the theme of the book.  I’m going to restate it and remind you again that’s different than the revelation of our Lord.  The theme is in the last two verses of the book, 2 Peter 3:17, “You, therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard, so that you are not carried away by the error of unprincipled men, and fall from your own steadfastness, but grow in grace and the knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  To Him be glory both now and to the day of eternity.  Amen.”  I’m going to take it in reverse.  The first part of the theme is the last verse, “Grow in grace and in the knowledge,” actually the word is full knowledge, the heart knowledge, “of our Lord Jesus Christ.  As he stands on his own grave, he looks out at tall the Christians and he says, “My final words, “Grow; you need to grow in grace.”  There’s no other way to grow, by the way, only in grace.

Who, but Peter, would be a better example to talk about growing in grace?  He is the quintessential illustration of progressive sanctification.  If you read Peter’s life in the gospels, you’d see one measure of his maturity.  If you see him in the Acts, you say, “Wow, he’s really grown.”  If you see him in the epistles, he has really grown.  So, he’s the perfect instrument to give us this message.  Peter says, “Grow,” all the way to the end, all the way to the grave, grow.  Never stop growing in grace and the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Peter, by the knowledge of the Lord, continually advanced and was transformed from one degree of glory to another.  If you just think about Peter in the Garden of Gethsemane, or if you think about Peter in the courtyard where he’s protecting his own life, and then you picture him in Acts 12 where he’s in prison and he’s going to be killed the next day, as far as his mind is concerned, and he’s sound asleep.  How could he be at rest?  The Bible says that an angel had to come and kick him in the ribs just to wake him up.  It’s an amazing rest that he entered into, and it was through growing.

The second part of the theme comes from 2 Peter 3:17, “Therefore, beloved, knowing this, be on your guard, so that you are not carried away by the error of unprincipled men.”  KJV just says, “Beware.”  I like to say that the double theme of 2 Peter is grow, but beware, grow, but be on your guard because there are going to be forces that try to hinder you from growing in grace and the knowledge of the Lord Jesus.  The Apostle Paul warned the saints at Ephesus about what would happen after he departed.  Acts 20:28, “Be on guard for yourselves, and for all the flock among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.  I know after my departure, savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock, from among your own selves men will arise speaking perverse things to draw away the disciples after them.”

In 1 Peter the enemy was out there—persecution.  In 2 Peter the enemy is in here.  It’s in the church and it’s in the heart and among the people of God.  2 Peter is different than 1 Peter.  He says, “Be on your guard because there are enemies from within that can rise.  And actually, the enemies from within are more dangerous than anyone who would persecute you from outside.  So, the theme of 2 Peter, “Grow, but beware.  Grow, but be on the alert, because there are enemies close by, even inside the church, even inside your heart, that will hinder your growth.”

I said that the theme of 2 Peter is to be on guard and to grow, but that’s different than the distinctive revelation of Christ.  I stated it last time, and I’ll state it now.  I didn’t develop it last time.  I’m going to develop it this morning.  In a general way I introduced you to 2 Peter 1:19, “We have the prophetic made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention, as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.”  We’re going to see in chapter one, chapter two and chapter three that the distinctive revelation of Christ in 2 Peter is the morning star.  He’s the Morning Star.

Three times in the New Testament that expression applies to Jesus, once here in 2 Peter 1:19, but also Revelation 2:28, when He promised the overcomers at Thyatira, “I will give him the morning star.”  And then the Bible almost ends with these words, Revelation 22:16, “I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things for the churches.  I am the root and descendant of David, the bright and morning star.”  Jesus is the bright and morning star.  You know what the morning star was.  That’s the star that says, “Goodbye to the night and hello to the day.”  If you get up early enough, that’s the brightest star in the sky.  You’ll see it, and then it fades away because the sun comes out.  The morning star is the rising of Christ that says, “Goodbye darkness, welcome day, welcome light.”  He’s going to appear as the morning star every time, but that’s not saying that every time He appears it’s under the figure of a morning star.  As the morning star He’ll arise as the potter, as the vine.  As the morning star He’ll arise as the dawn, but every time you see Christ by revelation it’s goodbye darkness and welcome day.

Like I said, I barely mentioned it last time, I want you to be patient with me as I try to develop this, I want to put you in Peter’s shoes, or sandals, or whatever he walked in.  I want you to get into his head, into his heart.  He’s a dying man, and he’s got a message to give before he dies.  It’s an important time in his life.  He doesn’t want you to miss this.  He’s known the Lord for thirty or thirty-five years and he looks back over his very full life, and here’s what he says in 2 Peter, “I’m going to look back and I’m going to choose, of all the experiences that I’ve had, I’m going to choose one, one experience that has meant more to me than any other experience.”  He looks back over the many years of his encounters with the Savior.

Now, if you were Peter looking back over such a life with Jesus, and you’re ready to die, what would you call attention to?  Would you call attention to the first time you met the Lord Jesus and Andrew introduced you to Him, how He stared you down and gave you a new name, and said that you were going to be a rock?  Would you look at that?  Or would you look at the day that you lent Him your boat, that He could use as a pulpit, after a futile night of fishing, and He filled the boat with so many fish Peter almost went out of business, because all of the ships began to sink.  Is that what you would tell them?  What about the many other experiences?  Would you tell them about the stormy sea?  You’re ready to die, and they need to know something.  What do they need to know?  How He calmed the stormy sea?  Would you tell them about your privilege to go up and witness the resurrection of Jairus, and you were there when Lazarus was raised from the dead?  Would you tell them about your own mother-in-law who had a raging fever and the Lord cured her of that?  Would you tell them about the time that you caught a little fish with a coin lodged in its gill, and it was just enough to pay your taxes and the taxes of the Lord Jesus?  Or would you talk about some conversation?  Would you talk about the foot washing that you had with the Lord Jesus?  Would you talk about some of His teaching or His parables? 

Do you see what I’m getting at?  Peter looked back, and he chooses one thing, not two.  He chooses only one thing.  I think, on the level of earth I might have warned people because he says, “Beware,” I would probably have warned them and told them about my failures.  I messed up at Philippi and Jesus actually called me Satan, I think, and I messed up again at Gethsemane and fell asleep, and in the garden, I denied the Lord.  Or would you share your restoration?  “He took me back after the resurrection.  He met personally with me.  He restored me and used me to raise the dead.  I raised Tabitha from the dead.”  Would you tell them about the tanner’s house?  Would you tell them about Cornelius?  Would you tell them about Pentecost and your great privilege to lead so many to Christ?  You’re a dying a person, and I’m trying to get you to put yourself in Peter’s sandals and look back over a very checkered life, very full life with Jesus, and then reduce it to one thing.  “Of all the things I’ve ever learned, before I die, you need to know this.”  What is that?

Do you think he’d be talking about when he was rebuked by Paul for legalism or something like that?  He settled on one, and I’d like to present that to you.  I think Peter is saying, “I’ve experienced so many things, and I can’t begin to tell you all the things I’ve experienced, but nothing has done more to change my life, and help me grow than this one experience, and before I die, I’ve got to share it.”  That’s how I understand this lesson.

So, this is his dying prayer.  I’m going to tell you the experience in 2 Peter 1:16, “We did not follow cleverly devised tails when we made known to you the power and the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.  We were eyewitnesses of His majesty when He received honor and glory from God the Father, such an utterance of this was made to Him by the majestic glory, ‘This is My beloved Son with whom I am well pleased.’”  With all of the experiences, he said, “I’ve got to tell you about the transfiguration.  Nothing has done more for me to teach me to grow than the transfiguration.”

When he first experienced the transfiguration, he didn’t understand it, but through the years as he meditated on it, he came to understand it, and it became so great in his life.  The revelation of Christ at the transfiguration stayed with Peter until his dying day.  And he said, “If I can leave you one thing, it’s got to be the transfiguration.”  So, let me set this before you.  I’d like to go back and look at the facts thirty years before, as Peter first experienced them.  Then I’d like to jump ahead thirty years and look at the strange way he interpreted it.  His interpretation will blow your mind.  He experienced one thing, and he didn’t understand it, and it took many years, and finally he understood it.  So, let me try to trace those steps and first go back thirty years and give you the facts, and what he experienced, and it was awesome.  What he understood at that time was awesome, as well, but when he finally understood, that was life changing.

As far as the record of the transfiguration goes, it’s recorded in Matthew 16:28-17:8, and it’s also recorded in Luke 9:28-36, and Mark 9:1-8.  I think what I’ll begin to do is just describe the event as it happened.  It did not begin with the transfiguration.  It began with a strange prophecy that took place a week before the transfiguration.  Matthew 16:28, “Truly, I say to you, there are some of those standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.” On the surface that looks a little confusing because it sounds like He’s predicting the second coming.  It’s also interesting that no place in your Bible do you have the words “second coming”.  That’s like Trinity and Shekinah Glory.  It’s all over the place but the words “second coming” do not appear in the Bible.  It sounds like He’s saying, “I want to tell you about My second coming, and some of you who are alive now will still be alive when I come again.”  That’s the prophecy.  That’s how it begins.  It’s about a week before the transfiguration.

All three, Matthew, Mark and Luke tell us that Moses and Elijah suddenly appeared with Him and had a conversation with Him.  Luke 9:31, “Who appeared in glory, were speaking of His departure, which He was about to accomplish at Jerusalem.”  Isn’t that an amazing word?  When somebody dies, they don’t accomplish death.  If I were to die and drop over, you wouldn’t say, “Oh, look, Ed accomplished death.”  You would probably say, “He succumbed to death.”  But Jesus accomplished it.  That’s what Elijah and Moses were talking about. 

Matthew and Mark both say that it was Peter who made the suggestion to build three tabernacles.  Only Mark tells us why.  Mark 9:1, “For he did not know what to answer, for they became terrified.”  He said, “Let’s build three tabernacles,” because he didn’t know what he was talking about.  He didn’t understand it.  I’ll tell you, when you don’t know, you see the Lord and you don’t know what to do, the natural heart always wants to build something.  It’s so common to do that.

Luke fills us in with the detail that all three, Peter, James and John were sleeping.  Luke 9:32, “Peter and his companions had been fully overcome with sleep, but when they were fully awake, they saw His glory and the two men standing with Him.”  Luke also tells us that the glory cloud that was on the mountain actually began to come down and it enveloped them.  They were actually inside the glory cloud and that’s where they were terrified and heard the voice. 

I’m going to read the Matthew account just to get it all before us, Matthew 17:1,

“Six days later Jesus took with Him Peter and James and John, his brother, and led them up on a high mountain by themselves.  He was transfigured before them and His face shone like the sun, and His garments became as white as light, and behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him, and Peter said to Jesus, ‘Lord, it’s good for us to be here.  If You wish, I’ll make three tabernacles here, one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.’  And while he was still speaking, a bright cloud overshadowed them and behold, a voice out of the cloud said, ‘This is My beloved Son with whom I am well-pleased.  Listen to Him.’  And when the disciples heard this, they fell face down unto the ground and were terrified, and Jesus came to them and touched them and said, ‘Get up and do not be afraid.’  Lifting up their eyes, they saw no one except Jesus Himself alone.’”

Mark tells pretty much the same story except he also adds this about the garments, Mark 9:3, “His garments became radiant, exceedingly white, as no launderer on earth can whiten them.”  All three, Matthew, Mark and Luke tell us that He went up on high mountain, but only Luke tells us why He went up there.  Luke 9:28, “He went up there to pray.”  That’s why He went up there.

Pretty much those are the facts.  We don’t know how long it was before Peter finally figured out what all those facts meant.  Was it ten years or twenty years or thirty years?  The Bible doesn’t tell us; we don’t know.  But by the time he was ready to die, by the time he wrote 2 Peter, he had a full understanding of the meaning of the transfiguration, and now he’s going to explain it to us.  When referring back to this awesome experience, he began with 2 Peter 1:17, “When He received honor and glory from God the Father, such an utterance as this was made to him by the majestic glory, ‘This is My beloved Son with whom I am well-pleased.’  We ourselves heard this utterance made from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain.” 

Now, I went through all the facts of the transfiguration.  When he writes 2 Peter he says, “You’ve got to hear about the transfiguration,” but what did he leave out?  This is amazing.  He’s going to tell you about the transfiguration, but he doesn’t mention that he was sleeping, and probably I can see why.  He left out the reference to Moses and Elijah and their discussion and their disappearance.  He left out about building three tabernacles.  But I’ll tell you the main thing he left out.  He left out the transfiguration of the Lord Jesus Christ.  He didn’t tell us how He glowed.  He didn’t tell us how radiant He was and how His garments were.  I think, and you’ll have to decide or not decide, that those details would have distracted us from what he sees as the meaning of the transfiguration.  So, he leaves all that stuff out which, that’s the first stuff I would have brought in about how bright Jesus was, and how His garments glowed and all.  But he knocked all that out because he wants us to understand the transfiguration.

So, now I’m going to, God assisting, give you Peter’s understanding of the transfiguration.  I want to begin with the prophetic word, 2 Peter 1:19, “We have a prophetic word…”  The first part of understanding is the prophetic word, and I told you what I thought that was from Matthew, “Truly, I say to you that there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in His glory.”  Now, the transfiguration didn’t take place until another six days.  Matthew 17:1, “Six days later Jesus took with Him Peter and James…”  I say at least six days because Luke 9:28 says, “Some eight days after these things He took along Peter, James and John.”  So, we’ll just call it a week, a week after that prophetic word.

Now, what was the word of prophecy?  It was a word that Peter heard from the lips of Jesus, and to our understanding, if you hear something from the lips of Jesus, what’s that called?  That’s called the word of God, because He’s God.  He’s talking about the Bible.  He’s talking about the word.  He’s talking about the scripture, and it was very clear to Peter at this time that Jesus was going to come in the glory of the Father.  If I came up to Peter during that week, and he got the prophetic word that He’s coming back and we’ll be alive to see it, and when he saw the transfiguration, if I came up to Peter during that week and said, “What’s the word you received?”  He would say, “Jesus said that He’s coming back in His kingdom and we’re going to be alive to see it, or at least some of us are going to be alive to see it.”  So, I would say, “Peter, let me ask you, do you believe that’s true?”  Peter would look at me and say, “True, of course it’s true!  It came from the lips of Jesus.  What do you expect?  It’s very true.”  He said, you’ve probably heard this, “God said it, I believe it and that settles it.”  That’s where Peter was at that time.  Peters said, “I believe that prophetic word, and nothing could be more true than what Jesus said.”

2 Peter 1:16, “We did not follow cleverly devised tales when we made known to you the power and the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.  We were eyewitnesses of His majesty.”  In the experience he had a word, a prophetic word.  He had a truth.  He had a scripture.  He had a promise from Jesus.  In his heart and mind nothing could be more true than the words he heard.  At that time, that was his thirty-year experience.  Psalm 119:89, “Forever, oh Lord, Your word is settled in heaven.”  He had a word and it’s settled.  Psalm 119:140, “Your word is very pure.”  He had a word.  Psalm 119:160, “The sum of Your word is truth.” 

Now, how did the understanding of that change for Peter through the years?  2 Peter 1:19, “So, we have the prophetic word,” that’s the word I was talking about, “made more sure.”  What?  God’s word is true.  Made more sure?  I want you to notice that it doesn’t say, “Made more truth.”  You can’t make it more truth.  It’s a true as true can be.  And it’s not more true if you believe it, and it’s not less true if you don’t believe it.  Truth is truth.  So, Peter had his eyes on that prophetic word, and he said, “I’ve discovered a way to make the prophetic word more sure, more certain, more alive, more vibrant, more applicable, more real, more dynamic. 

Peter had another word for the prophetic word in verse 19, “You do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place.”  The original word for dark is “squalid”.  I don’t know if you are familiar with that word “squalid”, but it’s a wretched, wretched place.  It’s foul and dirty and it’s oppressive and it’s filthy.  He calls the Bible a lamp, prophetic word, a lamp in a squalid place.  Have you looked around and watched the news lately?  Do you know anything about your own society?  I’ll tell you; this is a lamp in very, very dark place.

What he did experience that he didn’t understand for a long time is that he had a true word, but a week later he had a revelation of the Lord Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration.  Matthew 17:8, “Lifting up their eyes they saw no one except Jesus alone.”  And all of a sudden in a vision, in picture form, in the transfiguration he sees the second coming.  He’s sees Christ glorified.  He sees saints glorified.  He sees the message of the cross being discussed.  He sees, probably, Peter, James and John representing Jews.  He sees at the bottom of the mountain gentiles representing gentiles.  He sees the whole kingdom.  He had the prophetic word, and then he had a revelation of Jesus, and that prophetic word became more certain, more vibrant, more true.  He saw in foretaste.

What did Peter finally come to understand by that expression that the true word could become the more sure word?  He’s trying to teach us that we need to grow in grace, and he said, “Before I die I want to tell you that I’ve finally learned how to study the Bible.”  That’s his dying words, “I’ve learned how to deal with the lamp, the prophetic word.  I’ve learned how to deal with this.  I leaned how to grow, and I’m going to grow by the prophetic word becoming more sure.”  Listen to 2 Peter 1:19, “We have the prophetic word made more sure to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your heart.” 

Let me just say it this way.  Brothers and sisters in Christ, this is the lamp, and there’s a dark place.  Pay attention to the lamp until the day star arises in your heart.  It’s not the lamp.  It’s the revelation of the Lord Jesus.  That’s the prophetic word made more sure by a present revelation of the Lord Jesus, and when He arises in your heart, you’ll grow.  Until then, you will not grow.  He urges us to pay close attention until Christ appears, not until He appears on the Mount of Olives.  That He’ll do some day, and not until He appears in the world, and not until He appears in the future.  It’s today, now, in your heart.  Pay attention to this book until you see Jesus, until Christ rises in your heart.  His appearance will put an end to darkness, and it will welcome a new day.  Every time you see Jesus you are going to be set free.  You’re going to be delivered from some bondage or some darkness and you’re going to enter into a glorious liberty and light and understanding.  For this morning I just wanted you to know why he chose the transfiguration, because he has learned how to study the Bible, “I have a prophetic word, a prophetic word made more sure, by a present revelation of the Lord Jesus.”  That’s what he’s trying to say.

Let me wrap this up by tying it into the outline of the book.  In 2 Peter 1 he’s going to describe what your life will look like if you are seeing Jesus in the word.  In chapter 2 the whole chapter is against false teachers, “Be on guard.”  What is the one and only and all-inclusive safeguard that you aren’t going to go astray and fall into false teaching?  The answer is growing.  If you’re growing in the heart knowledge of Christ, you are as safe as a babe in the arms of the Lord Jesus.  Theologians and Christian writers have whole books, whole tomes on how you’ve got to study the cults and study the false teaching so you can understand, and then be grounded in doctrine.  “You should have a theology course, so you can be grounded in the truth, and then learn the different ways that you can identify these false teachers.  How am I going to pick them out?  Be aware of their subtleties because they’ll use your words, but they don’t mean what you mean.  They’ll say, “born again”, but they mean reincarnation, and so they don’t mean what you say.  They’ll say, “decide for Christ”.  That’s not the same as a revelation of Christ.  They’ll push on you positive thinking, but that’s not faith.  They’ll try to make you get involved in works.  That’s not fruit, and doctrine is not life.”  Am I worried that I’ll ever fall into false teaching?  Not if I’m growing, and not if I’m growing in the grace and full knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ, not if I’m paying attention to this until I see Christ.

Next week, Lord willing, I’d like to develop that a lot more, what it means to actually see Christ, but there’s only one safeguard, and you don’t have to worry about anything else.  If you are growing, you’re safe.  Chapter 3, as well, talks about the second coming.  Listen to verse 10, a little frightening, “The day of the Lord will come like a thief in which the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up.”  Is Jesus coming literally some day?  Indeed, He is, yes, He is!  Does He come every day?  Yes, He does, in the Bible, in the word.  When He comes literally, He is going to destroy that which is natural.  When He comes in your heart, He’s going to destroy that which is natural.

Hebrews gives one of the most tender pictures of Christ.  It doesn’t sound tender if you lift it out of its context.  Hebrews 12:29, “Our God is a consuming fire.”  You say, “Oh, that’s scary to me.”  No, no, He’s going to burn up what needs to be burned up in your life and mine, and He’s going to shake up what needs to be shaken in your life and mine.  The fact that He’s a consuming fire is the most wonderful revelation of Hebrews 12, I think.  Anyway, next time, Lord willing, we’re going to go back to this message and we’re going to look, to be honest with you, my heart is grieved because almost every Christian knows this is the lamp, this is a prophetic word, and so they study the lamp and they preach the lamp, and they defend the lamp and they look for understanding of the lamp and they memorize the lamp, and how few wait until Christ is revealed.  We’ve got to see Jesus.  It’s not about the Bible.  To the Pharisees He said, “You search the scriptures and then you think you have eternal life, but you don’t come to Me, that you might have life.”  It’s the Lord.  We’ve got to see the Lord.  Next time, Lord willing, we’ll look closer at the day star and all of its various ways of how He appears.

Father, thank You for Your precious word.  We know it’s a lamp in a very dark and squalid place.  We know it’s the prophetic word and we know it’s true, but we would have it be more sure by a present revelation of our Lord Jesus.  Will you teach us how to see Jesus?  Thank You for Peter’s burden as he gets ready to die, to share this all-inclusive principle of how to grow by seeing Jesus in the Bible.  We pray in Jesus’ name.  Amen.