The Truth of our Christian Faith
2 Peter 1:16 – 21
We were talking about Peter’s ministry of remembrance last week. We talked about the wonderful things the Lord has done and that we should always remember it. Indeed they are all worthy of all belief for they are not “cunningly devised fables” like other religious beliefs. Peter at the beginning of this epistle addressed it to “them that have obtained like precious faith with us”. That precious faith which was written I would say must be the personal conviction or trust in the Lord Jesus Christ. Today we would be talking about this precious faith or the truth of our Christian faith. What was its basis or foundation?
I. Testimony of the Apostle’s personal experience (2 Pet. 1:16)
A. Peter, John and James were “eyewitnesses of his majesty” during the transfiguration.
B. As eye witnesses they have seen Him, talked to Him, and was with Jesus during the last 3 years of His life here on earth.
C. John the beloved has written:
1. 1 John 1:3 That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.
2. John 19:35 And he that saw it bare record, and his record is true: and he knoweth that he saith true, that ye might believe.
D. Luke the beloved physician’ mentioned by Paul (Col 4:14) and was the writer of the gospel of Luke was not an apostle but let me mention here what he has written:
1. Luke 1:1-3 Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us, Even as they delivered them unto us, which from the beginning were eyewitnesses, and ministers of the word; It seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write unto thee in order, most excellent Theophilus,
E. The Apostles in confronting their most severe enemies tells about their common knowledge also of the truth and the facts concerning Jesus:
1. Acts 2:22 Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know:
2. Acts 26:24-28 And as he thus spake for himself, Festus said with a loud voice, Paul, thou art beside thyself; much learning doth make thee mad. But he said, I am not mad, most noble Festus; but speak forth the words of truth and soberness. For the king knoweth of these things, before whom also I speak freely: for I am persuaded that none of these things are hidden from him; for this thing was not done in a corner. King Agrippa, believest thou the prophets? I know that thou believest. Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.
3. As you can see the apostles when dealing with the unbelievers tells them “you yourselves also know”, “you know these things”.
4. The Pharisees and the Sadducees, saw the miracles also so they cannot refute the testimony of the apostles. (Acts 4:14-15).
II. Testimony of the “more sure word of prophecy” (2 Peter. 1:19-21)
A. The Greek word for prophecy means “to tell before.” Bible prophecy refers not merely to the foretelling of future events, but to divine revelation in general, God showing man that which he cannot find out for himself.
B. The “more sure word of prophecy” refers to the entire New Testament revelation, not merely to the descriptions of the future (2Pe 1:19-21).
C. You must realize that Biblical predictions recorded sometimes hundreds of years in advance of their happenings are fulfilled in minute details.
D. Biblical prophesies’ central theme was the coming of the Messiah like Isaiah 9:6-7; and Isaiah 53:1-12.
E. These prophesies were used by the Apostle Paul to convince others that Jesus was the Christ. Acts 17:2-3, 1 Cor. 15:3-4
F. In the OT there were 60 major messianic prophesies and approximately 270 ramifications that were fulfilled in one person, Jesus Christ.
G. Islam cannot point to any prophecies of the coming of Mohammed uttered hundreds of years before his birth. Neither can the founders of any cult identify any ancient text specifically foretelling their appearance.
H. What Peter says about prophecy: (2 Peter 1:20-21)
1. “No prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation”. The meaning of this is that no true prophecy springs forth from the private reasoning of man speaking or writing.
2. “For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost”. The Spirit of God moved the hearts, minds, and pens of the men chosen by God.
I. Fulfilled prophecies serves to strengthen our faith.
Illustration 1: Predictive Prophecy
Dr. George Sweeting once estimated that “more than a fourth of the Bible is predictive prophecy…Both the Old and New Testaments are full of promises about the return of Jesus Christ. Over 1800 references appear in the O.T., and seventeen O.T. books give prominence to this theme. Of the 260 chapters in the N.T., there are more than 300 references to the Lord’s return—one out of every 30 verses. Twenty-three of the 27 N.T. books refer to this great event…For every prophecy on the first coming of Christ, there are 8 on Christ’s second coming.”
Illustration 2: How are Bible Prophecies Different from Other Prophecies?
1. Bible prophecies are detailed rather than ambiguous and general. Names are given (Isa 45:1-3). Locations are given (Mic 5:2). Minute details are given (Ps 22; Isa 53; Lu 19:41-44). Dates are given (Da 9:24-27; Jer 25:11-12). Exact order of events is given (Da 7).
2. Bible prophecies have never failed. Bible prophecy stands in great contrast with the hazy, imperfect predictions of astrologers and of other non-inspired soothsayers.
3. Bible prophets agree perfectly in their prophecies. Compare Enoch’s prophecy of Christ’s second coming (Jude 14-15) with that made by Isaiah (Isa 13:3-5), Christ (Mt 24:30), Paul (2Th 1:7-9), and John (Re 19:11-21). Though separated by centuries, these prophecies agree perfectly.
4. Bible prophets lived holy lives in conformity with their message. Those familiar with astrologers and other pagan prophets know they do not live holy lives.
5. Bible prophets did not prophesy for money. In fact, they were often persecuted and impoverished because of their prophecies. Their motive was never for personal gain. (D. Cloud).
Christians’ faith indeed is real, precious, and truthful. The testimony of the apostles who have been with the Lord, saw Him, ate with Him, etc. cannot be refuted. Adding to this is the divinely inspired prophecy most of which are fulfilled literally to the minute details. Christianity is not a blind faith but an intelligent faith, the sure foundation, the truth of life.