Summary: When the Apostle Peter penned his first letter, his aim was to comfort and encourage believers in the midst of suffering and persecution---Something that was happening externally. Three years later, in this letter containing his last words, he writes to
Evangelist Herman E. Wesley III
AS LONG AS I AM IN THIS TABERNACLE
Prepared for Delivery at Southwestern Christian College
Annual Southwestern Lectureship / Graham-Kennedy-Farmer Auditorium
Tuesday, November 24, 1998 • 7:45 p.m. / Keynote Address
"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 has showed me."
In the wonderful name of the Lord Jesus, it is an honor and a pleasure to be standing before you this afternoon. To Dr. Carl C. Baccus, James Maxwell, Ben Foster, other members of the administration, staff, faculty, fellow Christian comrades, and visitors, we thank you for this opportunity and for your presence.
We bring you greetings from the State of Alabama, the capital city of Montgomery, and the saints of the NorthPointe Church of Christ, where I have been set to plant and minister, having been approved and accepted by the leaders and members of this wonderful, Spirit-filled, Jesus loving, Bible-believing, Preacher-supporting church.
Now, if you can’t get down to Montgomery to visit with us in person, we are pleased to announce that you can visit us from anywhere in the world on the world wide web. There we have an interactive site, where you can pull up the video of our chorus in concert, or Sunday morning service. You can reach us at www.northpointechurch.net. We’re taking the old time gospel to the whole wide world with modern, new technology...in the name of Jesus.
The text that has been assigned to me can be found in the Second Book of Peter, chapter 1 and verses 12-13. How many of you have Bibles tonight? I would appreciate it if you would read this along with me.
The subject assigned to me comes from verse number 13, where Peter says:
AS LONG AS I AM IN THIS TABERNACLE.
(I’m taking this personal!)
When the Apostle Peter penned his first letter, his aim was to comfort and encourage believers in the midst of suffering and persecution---Something that was happening externally. Three years later, in this letter containing his last words, he writes to them again, but this time the enemy is not from without. The enemy is from within. He is warning them of an internal attack--complacency and heresy. He writes of holding fast to the non-negotiable facts of the faith, of growing and maturing in the faith, and of rejecting all who would distort the truth. His words are just as powerful now, in 1998, as they were around 67 AD.
The truth of the matter as it relates to the church of the twentieth century is that we, too, must be watchful of the many changes afoot in the church. While some things are a matter of opinion, and are issues that simply highlight the differences in our own individual growth and study patterns, let’s not rock ourselves into a false sense of security! Just as the church in the early ages was able to fall away from the faith through subtlety, good words and fair speeches (Romans 16:18), the failure of many church members to study, and the so-called mental assent of a number of church leaders, can very easily have us moving in the same direction as the former Southern Hills Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma who took a vote and decided they no longer wanted to be a church of Christ! It is in the midst of the encroaching darkness of apostasy that Peter pens this letter.
Three things I want to deal with in this brief treatise on this passage.
I. TRUTH NEEDS TO BE REPEATED (verse 12)
II. PROCLAIMERS OF TRUTH NEED TO BE DETERMINED (verse 13)
III. TIME IS RUNNING OUT (verse 14-15)
Ya’ll got time for this tonight?
I. TRUTH NEEDS TO BE REPEATED (verse 12)
Peter starts out by saying:
..."I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things,
though you know them, and be established in the present truth..."
There are some things we need to be reminded of, even though we already know them. We are living in an age where some Christians have grown tired of hearing about:
• the plan of salvation,
• the essentiality of baptism,
• the distinctive plea of the church of Christ, and
• the exclusive nature of the church of Christ.
The spirit of the Athenians found in Acts 17:21 is running rampant in the church, for the Athenians spent their time in nothing else, but either to tell or hear some new thing.