Summary: The success of a pastor cannot be fully measured until after his departure. If he has equipped the church to continue in his absence, then his ministry will have been successful.
The Gratitude for the Saints
2 Peter 1: 12-15
As we continue to examine this first chapter of Peter’s second epistle, I am convicted and encouraged by the heart of this man of God. His love and concern for the church cannot be missed or overlooked. He is now a seasoned apostle and his focus is fixed on eternal matters. Clearly Peter is not seeking personal gain or recognition; his heartbeat is for the church and her longevity. He wants to do all he can in the time remaining to strengthen the church and prepare her for the work of ministry.
This particular passage is so refreshing, particularly in today’s spiritual climate in America. Most pastors and evangelists are focused on the longevity and success of their personal ministries, often at the expense of the local church. I am well aware that the Lord’s church existed long before my call into ministry, and she will remain until He returns for her. This is not about me; it is all about exalting the Lord, reaching those apart from Christ, and strengthening the church. Every pastor and evangelist need the same gratitude and devotion Peter shared for the church.
I want to examine the assertions of Peter within the text as we consider: Gratitude for the Saints.
I. The Devotion of Peter (12) – 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. Here Peter revealed his committed devotion for the church. Consider:
A. His Intercession (12a) – Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things. Peter had already spoken of his desire for the continued growth in the faith and their knowledge of the Lord, striving to guide them into a more fulfilling and productive walk with the Lord. He then declared that he would never be negligent in praying for their pursuit and remembrance of these principles. He taught them in the ways of God and then sought the Lord to aid them in their pursuit of spiritual maturity. Peter was not content just to share biblical truth – he prayed they would remember it and put truth into practice! (Do we pray for the blessing and strength of the body of Christ as we should? I fear we are good at telling others how they should live and yet fail to pray that the Lord would enable them to continue in the faith.)
B. His Admonition (12b) – though ye know them, and be established in the present truth. Peter desired the church to remain in the faith. He wanted them to remember these eternal truths and put them into practice, literally establishing their lives upon the truth. He urged the church to realize faith that is not put into practice is a lacking faith. Biblical knowledge was great, but unless they lived according to the precepts of truth, they would never attain spiritual maturity. His desire for them was much more than knowledge of Scripture; he desired transformed lives through their understanding of the Scripture. (We cannot be satisfied with merely teaching and sharing the Word of God. We must seek to instruct and encourage adherence to the Word. Knowing the principles of the Word are great, but we must also live according to those principles!)
II. The Compassion of Peter (13) – Yea, I think it meet, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up by putting you in remembrance. Peter also revealed his heart-felt compassion for the church. Bear in mind, he is not writing to a particular congregation; he is writing to the church at large. Peter was concerned for the entire body of Christ, having compassion for her. Notice:
A. His Expectation (13a) – Yea, I think it meet, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up by putting you in remembrance. Don’t be confused by the wording in the text. Peter did not refer to a church building. The tabernacle he speaks of is his physical body. Peter expected to serve the Lord and His church as long as he lived. He could not imagine a time in his future when he would no longer have a burden for the church. His calling and commitment to the Gospel had no expiration date. He was determined to serve the Lord as long as he lived. (My how we need those with the same commitment and desire. I know as we age, we reach a place when our stamina and health is not what it used to be, but we cannot quit on the Lord. The Lord was faithful unto the end, willing to lay down His life for us. We must be willing to serve Him as long as we live!)