Sermon Manuscript . . .
The Importance of Reminders and Recall
Repeatedly hearing truth you already know is crucial for Christians
2 Peter 1:12-15
Remember when you spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list, only to realize at the store you forgot to bring the list? There were one or two items you knew you had to get, but without the list you forget them. You needed that list as a reminder. Remember on your day off, the satisfaction and accomplishment you felt when you checked off the Honey D list, which helped you stay on track? That to-do list was a reminder.
Here today, there are some shoppers who are super geniuses. On Black Friday, they develop a plan of attack in order to get to the best deals at the exact right time at each particular store–saving hundreds, if not thousands. That plan of attack was a reminder. Some of your computers and phones have incredible reminder systems–alarms that go off, alerts which pop up, reminding you faithfully of what must be done. They recall for you the items which must be done, so you can accomplish what must be done and what is most important. You need reminders.
Everyone of you here knows how important it is to be reminded. Our culture is filled with a commitment to remember. We build monuments to World War II to help us remember the carnage of war, and to remember those who gave their lives to preserve our freedom. We take pictures of events, creation and loved ones in order to remember what we saw, what we did and who we care about.
We give each other rings to help each other remember one another throughout the day. As I travel, my wedding ring is a reminder to me that I belong to another, and a reminder to others there is a Mrs. Mueller. Our Lord Jesus is very committed to reminders. Jesus knows as your memory fades, your spiritual confidence fades and your worship fades, and your boldness fades. Your wonder at the love of Christ fades, and your hearts grow cold, your soul dries up, and before you know it, you are living beneath your privilege and position. Before you know it, you are all fuzzy about what’s important in life and what isn’t, what’s truth and what’s error, what’s for real and what’s counterfeit.
This is the reason the Church is commanded to gather each week for corporate worship. This the reason the Church is commanded to remember the Lord regularly in communion. A few fortunate people have photographic memories, but the rank and file, the rest of us–we need things drilled into them. And being reminded is what the great apostle Peter now exhorts the churches in Turkey, which were planted by Paul, to do.
Open your Bibles and take your outline and read aloud verses 12 to 15. As you do, notice the three references to being reminded. “Therefore, I will always be ready to remind you of these things, even though you already know them, and have been established in the truth which is present with you. 13I consider it right, as long as I am in this earthly dwelling, to stir you up by way of reminder, 14knowing that the laying aside of my earthly dwelling is imminent, as also our Lord Jesus Christ has made clear to me. 15And I will also be diligent that at any time after my departure you will be able to call these things to mind” (2 Peter 1:12 to 15).
In spite of all the reminders over centuries, Israel struggled with memory. Psalm 106:13 reminds them that they quickly forgot His works, they did not wait for His counsel, they forgot God their Savior who had done great things in Egypt. They forgot their all-powerful deliverance from Egypt. They forgot their repeated failure during the time of the judges. They forgot the warnings of their prophets–they needed a heart to remember.
But the importance of remembering is also a Christian priority and a Christian problem. We forget. We battle with amnesia. Yet to remain strong and grow, we must remember. Jude 17, “But you, beloved, ought to remember the words that were spoken beforehand by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Acts 20:35, “In everything I showed you that by working hard in this manner you must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ”
Second Timothy 2:8, “Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, descendant of David, according to my gospel.” James 1:25, “But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does.” This is why Peter now calls these Christians and you to remember.
Peter reminds them of their salvation in verses 1 to 4. Peter reminds them of the results of true salvation in verses 5 to 7. Peter reminds them of the assurance they enjoy as they grow in character in verses 8 to 11. But some of these truths they already knew. Some of the truths of verses 1 to 11 the apostle Paul had already taught them. Some of these truths were already practiced and already owned by the readers. So Peter now makes certain they know how important it is for them to be reminded. Hear these same truths again–and Peter now teaches his readers, make certain you don’t fight the importance of hearing truth you know again and again.
What do you do with people who think they know every passage of Scripture? The 7th graders of Grace Community Church knew every AWANA verse, every book of the Bible, every theological concept when they joined my Junior High ministry. I worked very hard to prove to them they needed to move from knowing the truth of the Scripture to actually knowing the God of the Bible, and that they desperately needed to be reminded again and again of God’s Word in order to live it.
That is the plight of all well-taught believers–you must hear the truth again. Why? Because you don’t live it all, understand it all, see everything clearly . . . because you do desperately need repetition in order to learn, grow and know God. Read verse 12, “Therefore, I will always be ready to remind you of these things.” The first word, “therefore“–and whenever you read the word therefore, you have to ask, “Wherefore is that therefore there for?” Peter is making a connection to what he has just said–which is the incredible salvation you have been given by the sacrifice of Christ and the blessings of assurance founded on diligent Christ-like growth, which are so amazing that you must never forget them.
Will you admit you can start a day without thinking about Christ or the Gospel? Will you admit you can live all day long without thinking much about Christ? Will you be transparent enough to admit there are days when you don’t remember the Gospel? Friends, start every day remembering the salvation God gave you through the sacrifice of Christ. That God gave you the faith to believe verse 1. That even though you were dead in your sins, God called you with an irresistible call, verse 3. That God has given you everything to live for Him, verse 4. That God promises you can overcome sin and live Christ-like character in verses 4 to 7. Because you and I are prone to forgetting, embrace being reminded often. What does Peter say?
#1 Be ready to remind REGARDLESS Verse 12
“Therefore, I will always be ready to remind you of these things, even though you already know them, and have been established in the truth which is present with you.” Peter says he is ready to remind you, regardless–nothing is going to stop him from continually reminding you, telling you over and over, speaking the same truth again and again. Paul also says being reminded is crucial for every Christian in Philippians 3:1, “Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things again is no trouble to me, and it is a safeguard for you.”
Your kids need to hear the same truths over and over again. Your community group needs to be reminded about the command to disciple, to obey the Word about their speech, and how to love people they don’t know. Your Jr Higher and High schooler need to hear the same truth about honor and obedience, accepting responsibility, doing their work heartily for the Lord, rather than for men.
Peter here acknowledges, he was not telling his readers anything new. Peter must have known Paul had covered this ground. Hearing the same things from someone else, however, would help reinforce what they had been taught and not be redundant. So Peter declares he is always . . .
First Ready to Remind
Verse 12a, “Therefore, I will always be ready to remind you of these things.” Peter uses the future tense, “I will always be ready,” declaring he is continually ready. Peter will be excited to remind his listeners of the truth of salvation in Christ, with its life altering regeneration which permanently transforms rebellious sinners into submissive saints. And Peter will do so whenever he’s given the opportunity. Peter will do this personally or in writing, but he’s ready to repeat these truths over and over.
His readers in Turkey, and Christians today, do not always know the truths of Scripture, nor do they always hear accurate interpretations of the Bible. When believers hear something accurate and new to them, it is not new revelation from God, just new to them. It’s important to recall that all who teach the Scriptures are reminding people of what God has already said in His Word. And Peter is modeling the importance of continual, repetitious teaching, so that the repetition of those truths will lead to remembrance and application.
Peter says to remind you–the same word remind is used of Peter’s painful remembrance of Christ’s warning that Peter would deny the Lord three times before the crowing of the rooster (Luke 22:61). No wonder Peter was diligent not to neglect reinforcing the memories of those to whom he was now writing.
Truth is a seed. Truth unspoken is like a seed still in the package and not in the ground–there is no way it can produce any fruit. Truth unrepeated is like a seed in the ground which is only watered once by the Spirit–there is no chance for it to grow and bring forth fruit. Parents and preachers need to preach the truth continually, repeatedly–for even those who know the Word need to hear it again and again.
Spurgeon says although some are established in the truth, we still need to preach the old truths with which they are familiar. The doctrines in which they are well established are still to be proclaimed to them. Every wise preacher brings forth from the treasury of truth things both new and old. New, that the hearers may learn more than they knew before, and old that they may know and practice better that which they do already know in part.
Peter wants to impress his readers’ minds with the Word of God, so they’ll never forget it. It is the practice, the constant repetition of a thing until it becomes part of us–that is the heart and soul of learning.
Second Regardless, keep reminding
Peter adds some “no matter what” type statements in the second half of Verse 12b, “even though you already know them, and have been established in the truth which is present with you.” Simply, even though you have already learned these truths and you are already living these truths – you need me to keep reminding you. Never stop reminding your kids, your disciples, and your brothers and sisters in Christ of the truth of God’s Word–of sound doctrine, of absolute truth. Never!
When Peter says, “Even though you already know them,” literally the words mean, “You have already learned these facts in the past, and you still understand them now.” You passed the class, you graduated from TC, you memorized the verses, you read the book–you know where to find these truths in the Bible and you still do. But in spite of all that, verse 12, I am going to continually remind you. Maybe you are deep, mature, certain and live by conviction–you still need reminding.
Peter even takes it a step further by adding this final phrase in verse 12, “and have been established in the truth which is present with you.” The truth already abides in every believer. Second John 2, “for the sake of the truth which abides in us and will be with us forever.” With our new nature and the indwelling Holy Spirit, we have the truth. But you and I are not established in the truth until you mature in Christ.
The verb established in verse 12 means to strengthen, and this participle indicates a settled conviction. By using this word, Peter is affirming to his readers that they are marked by firm determination and resolution. All Christians are committed, but these believers have manifested their commitment. Peter’s readers had heard the Word from Paul, other apostles, Paul’s letters, Peter’s first letter, and they have come to a settled conviction on the teaching of verses 1 to 11–the teaching on salvation, sufficiency, pursuing character and enjoying assurance.
Yet in spite of all that, it was still imperative that Peter’s readers receive continual reminders on the truth. In light of the threat they faced from the powerful infiltration of false teachers discussed in chapter 2 of this letter, these mature readers still must continually be reminded of solid doctrinal truths. Christian, verse 12 says even though you have already learned these truths and you are already living these truths, you and I need continual reminding of God’s Word and sound doctrine. Peter also wants you to know . . .
#2 The Rightness of REINFORCING Reminders Verses 13 to 14
Paul just died and these churches lost their church planter and apostolic mentor. And now Peter is about to die, so as Peter writes to these same churches, he emphasizes how important reminding is. Verse 13, “I consider it right, as long as I am in this earthly dwelling, to stir you up by way of reminder, 14knowing that the laying aside of my earthly dwelling is imminent, as also our Lord Jesus Christ has made clear to me.”
Peter says reviewing, reminding, repeating, reteaching the same foundational truths over and over is the right thing to do–and as long as I have breath, I will do it. Listen to how the great reformer, John Calvin, states it. “Yea, I think it right. Peter expresses more clearly how useful and how necessary ‘the reminder admonition’ is, because it is needful to arouse the faithful, for otherwise torpor will creep in from the flesh. Though, they might not have wanted teaching, yet Peter says that the goads of admonitions were useful, lest security and indulgence should weaken what they had learned, and possibly extinguish it.” So Peter begins verse 13 with . . .
First Right to be Reminding while alive
Verse 13, “I consider it right, as long as I am in this earthly dwelling.” Beyond the strengthening and building benefits of continual biblical reminders, Peter also considers repetitive reminders as right. Right is the Greek word righteous. This gives repetition a spiritual importance. Loving parents repeat truth to their kids. Loving disciples review the same truths. And loving shepherds remind their flocks.
When reconciling with Christ after Peter’s denial, Jesus told Peter to feed His sheep. Part of the feeding was often giving the sheep the same food to eat. And Peter would do this as long as he was alive. To describe life in verse 14, Peter uses the word “earthly dwelling“, which is the Greek word for tent, borrowing from the familiar picture of Middle East nomads living in portable tents.
Peter reminds all believers right now, you are in a temporary house–your body. And Peter also knew one day God would fold up that tent to free your eternal soul to enter Heaven. You are all currently tent camping tent camping and not home yet. Tent camping is a blast. But when you’re close to freezing, rained out at 11,000 ft, no food because the bears ate it all, trapped in the tent cause all your clothes are soaked–on those rare occasions, the best part of tent camping is knowing you’re going home to a dry, warm, safe, comfortable house very soon. You can’t wait.
Peter can’t wait. So-o-o Peter reminds you, as long as you are in this temporary tent, you will need reminders of what is true. Peter says . . .
Second Revitalize Reminding in every way
“To stir you up by way of reminder“–stir you! Spurgeon comments, “When people are as they should be, it is worthwhile to stir them up. You do not want to stir up dirty water, but you may stir that which is pure and sweet as much as ever you like. A good fire sometimes becomes a better one by a little stirring up.”
The Greek verb “stir you up” means to arouse completely or to thoroughly awaken from lethargy, drowsiness, or sleep–like the Keith Green song, “the church is asleep in the light.” But Peter says, I must “stir you up by way of reminder“–stir is intense. This same word stir is used to describe a storm on the Sea of Galilee. Peter knew our minds have a tendency to become accustomed to truth, then to take it for granted. We forget what we ought to remember, and we remember what we ought to forget. Peter’s own memory had once been painfully jogged by a rooster at his denial, and on another occasion by the apostle Paul when he clung to his Jewish roots over the Gospel. Peter is now prepared to jog their memories about God’s Word.
You need to be continually reminded about salvation (verses 1 and 2), God’s sufficient power to live the Christian life (verses 3 and 4), God’s character manifested from salvation (verses 5 to 7), and the assurance that results from God’s character (verses 8 through 11). These reminders need to alert you like a storm, be an alarm that wakes you up–or as a cold fire which is stirred hot, remind others to learn and live these truths.
The godly shepherd, parent, discipler stimulates his flock by way of reminder. He or she consistently keeps teaching and reviewing all the major themes, doctrines, and commands of Scripture. No matter how much divine truth believers have heard or how spiritually mature they are, they still need reminders to apply that truth. And Peter will do what Jesus told him–feed His sheep until his dying breath.
Third Recalling the retirement of personal reminders
Verse 14, “knowing that the laying aside of my earthly dwelling is imminent, as also our Lord Jesus Christ has made clear to me.” Peter knows his days are numbered–imminent means swift and soon. Soon, literally very short notice–after Peter writes this letter, he will be executed. Peter knew with the Nero-nic persecution reaching its crescendo, as one of the chief apostles, he could not expect to escape much longer.
Peter knew he would die and how he would die. Our Lord had told Peter in John 21:18, “Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were younger, you used to gird yourself and walk wherever you wished; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands and someone else will gird you, and bring you where you do not wish to go.” Jesus’ words are a prediction of Peter’s martyrdom. Jesus prophesied Peter would be executed, specifically by crucifixion, evidenced by the expression, “you will stretch out your hands.” So Peter lived another four decades being faithful to feed the Lord’s sheep, knowing all the while at any moment his life could swiftly end.
This explains why, shortly after Pentecost in Acts 2, Peter was able to sleep in prison the night before he was scheduled to be killed–he knew Herod could not take his life. Now in his 70’s, while near to the door of death, Peter is still committed to reminding. Peter knew he would not be raptured. He knew he’d be a martyr via crucifixion. Church father Eusebius attests that Peter was crucified, and crucified upside down at his request, because he felt unworthy to die exactly as Christ had died. Until Peter’s tent was laid aside, Peter will continue to remind believers of truth–even the doctrine they’d learned and lived. It is right to reinforce constant reminders. It is so important to Peter, he wants to make certain reminding continues.
#3 The RESPONSIBLE reminding for the next generation
Verse 15, “And I will also be diligent that at any time after my departure you will be able to call these things to mind.” In view of the brevity of his life and ministry, Peter was relentlessly, zealously diligent to remind believers of the truth, so that at any time after his soon departure, they would be able to recall these things to mind. Peter is diligent again–meaning he is exerting zealous, eager, and intense in labor to do whatever he needs to do to make certain they remember even after he dies.
Peter is doing all he can–he’s striving so they will “call these things to mind.” That phrase, “these things” obviously means verses 1 to 11, but there’s no reason to restrict it to only those verses, but to all the apostolic teaching they’ve received. That includes Peter’s first letter, potentially the gospel of Mark (which was overseen by Peter), the remaining truth found in 2 Peter, and the rest of the New Testament. Peter wants the essential doctrines of the New Testament to be unforgettably imbedded in every believer’s mind.
Peter reminds his readers one more time that he is going to depart, probably soon–“at any time after my departure.” Depart is where we get the word exodus. Peter is leaving the slavery of this world for the freedom of the new, heavenly, promised land. This is an exodus every single one of you who is a believer will enjoy. Peter knew he was going to die, so he wanted to leave behind something that would never die–the written Word of God. His two epistles, the gospel of Mark, the Pauline epistles which these churches knew, are all a part of the inspired Scriptures, and they have been ministering to the saints for centuries. Peter intimates all people die, but the Word of God lives forever.
Peter concludes verse 15 with, “you will be able to call these things to mind.” Peter was not concerned that the churches remember him or his death, but that they would remember the truth he taught them. My friends, my FBC family–that’s exactly what I want. I don’t want you to remember me–I want you to love Christ and remember His Word.
So TAKE this HOME
A When you’ve heard it all before, don’t tune out–pursue W.A.C.O.
Pursue Wisdom–seek to find the why behind the truth you know. Why does God command believers not to complain? Because every time you complain you are challenging, fighting, hating, insulting the sovereignty of God. Seek wisdom for why God does what God does.
Pursue Application–don’t merely hear the Word again, but ask yourself, are you doing the Word, or is there a new way in which to live this familiar truth?
Pursue Christ–stop merely looking at familiar Scriptures, look beyond the printed page into the face of Christ. Don’t merely listen, get to know your Lord.
Pursue Others–when you hear familiar truth, think about how you might encourage others, build up others, love others, serve others with those truths.
WACO–Wisdom, Application, Christ, and Others
B Indifference to the truth is never spiritually HEALTHY
When you’re born again, you receive a new nature that knows and loves the truth. Even when teaching is familiar, the true believer will have an affection for truth. If you find yourself indifferent to God’s Word, even when it’s familiar, it means you have allowed your heart to grow cold or your heart was never born again. You are either disobedient or deceived–there are no other options.
Yes, the preacher may be boring, the chairs uncomfortable and the room too hot–welcome to FBC. But if the Word is being taught, there should be a desire to hear it, embrace it, remember it and apply it. Maybe today, you need to cry out to Christ to give you a new heart–a heart that loves His truth.
C Grow in your LOVE for the written Word taught correctly
The Church of Jesus Christ is just one generation away from extinction. If there was no dependable written revelation, you would have to depend on word-of-mouth tradition. If you have ever played the party game “Gossip,” you know how a simple sentence can be radically changed when passed from one person to another. You and I do not depend on the traditions of dead men–we depend on the truth of the living Word, the God-breathed Word, the inspired Word of God.
You are not at the mercy of the defective and selective memories of men and women. But you and I are dependent on our own memories in order to live by the Word of God. And in order to remain healthy, we must be reminded over and over and over again. Make a habit, when you normally listen to music, first listen to a chapter of the Bible. Before you dig into your fun book, read one of the books of the Bible. If you are in a hurry, read Obadiah, only 21 verses long.
Get ready to follow FBC’s Bible reading plan again. Review the MacArthur handbook of the Bible, and as you do, let it stimulate your desire to read selected passages of the Scripture which grab your heart. Make some goals to study portions of the Scripture you have never read. Listen to books of the Bible through sermons we have taught here at FBC. Determine the questions you want answers to, and search the sermons we have taught here and listen to the issues you are uncertain about or need to be reminded of.
If you are dating or thinking about relationships, we have a series to listen to. If your marriage needs a tune up, we have two major series to listen to. If you need to study controversial issues, we have two series called tough stuff. If you want to study 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, 1 Peter, Philippians, the Gospel of Mark, Daniel, Malachi, selected Psalms, selected Proverbs, and more–grow in love with the Word of God, my friends. Be reminded daily of God’s truth. Let’s pray.