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Essential Legacy

2 Peter 1:12-15
So I will always remind you of these things, even though you know them and are firmly established in the truth you now have. I think it is right to refresh your memory as long as I live in the tent of this body, because I know that I will soon put it aside, as our Lord Jesus Christ has made clear to me. And I will make every effort to see that after my departure you will always be able to remember these things. (NIVUK)

Peter knew he would soon die, as a victim of lies and violence, like Jesus.  Jesus had told Peter that he would also be crucified (John 21:18-19).  However, the apostle does not despair.  His job for Christ on earth was almost over, but not quite yet.  So, he wrote to ensure a legacy of a Christ-like church with transformed lives, ready to endure suffering and eagerly awaiting the return of Jesus.  He knew that the chill winds of persecution would stir all kinds of fearful reactions, and that false teachers would try to wreck Christ’s church (1 Peter 5:8-10).  We can only stay true to Jesus, if we constantly remember the truth about Christ's salvation, and honour Him in our lives.

Peter wrote to remind them of what they already knew and had based their lives upon.  Now, through the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:21), Peter urged them to remember the essential truths they believed when they were saved (1 Corinthians 15:1).  The early Christians had not deliberately forgotten but, in the pressures of life and lure of false teaching, they failed to let God's truth command their lives.  It is so easy to drift away from the truth (Hebrews 2:1).  When that happens, decisions degenerate to the level of our strongest internal desires or external pressure.  
The true prophetic purpose of gospel ministry is to bring people back to love and obey the truths of God's covenant through the Scriptures – and be restored through repentance and faith in God’s sacrifice for sins.  Without that divine authority we will be easy prey for convincing false prophets (2 Peter 2:1-21).  So, Peter commanded the church to be on guard to recognise and repel false teaching (2 Peter 3:17).  False prophets had denied the essential work of the cross (2 Peter 2:1) and the future return of Christ (2 Peter 3:3-7).  Instead they taught about how to control angels (2 Peter 2:10-12) while living a pagan lifestyle full of greed and immorality (2 Peter 2:14-15), as slaves of depravity (2 Peter 2:19).  The only protection against false teaching is to remind people of what is true from God’s Word.

This is the reason that Word@Work is delivered to you today: to remind you to live according to the grace of Christ as revealed in the Scriptures (2 Timothy 3:16-17).  It may also be the reason why God has placed you alongside another believer (or put you in e-contact), so that you can also stir them up to love and good works (Hebrews 10:24), and to stand firm in the faith (2 Thessalonians 2:15).  It will also alert you to false teaching propelled by ‘prophets’ whose interest is to develop a controlling influence over people and to satisfy their own lusts.  Churches are easily led astray by such people.  Be on your guard by remembering what is true from God’s Word.  

Father God. Thank You for Your Word which teaches me all I need to know to be in a right and productive relationship with You and my Christian brothers and sisters. Please forgive me for not allowing Your Word the biggest space in my thinking, so that it might be the judge of my desires and decisions. Help me to make every effort to open my mind to Your truth, in church, daily devotions and through Word@Work; and not to assume that I 'know' when really I have forgotten to obey You. Please restore me to walking in Your light, and enable me to remind other believers to do the same. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams