Peter was the star of the first generation Christian church. he was one of Jesus’ three closest friends and the one personally chosen to lead Christ-followers into a new era. 35 years after receiving this personal appointment, Peter lingers in a Roman jail, awaiting his execution. and he writes. he writes two letters to the next generation of the church, focusing on the things that matter most. matters of life and death. he stresses that above all, we are to KNOW CHRIST.
as followers of Jesus today, we have the gift of the scriptures, and in the new testament we have everything we need for knowing him. Christ-followers of every age have followed and depended upon the words of the scriptures for their centering and their grounding. and yet, in our day, too few of us know it.
in yesterday’s talk, i shared four reasons why knowing Christ and knowing the word are vital for your living.
REASON 1 – Salvation
in a bold defense before people who were questioning him about his faith, Peter responded by proclaiming Jesus Christ, and ended with these words: “There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.” knowing Christ is essential for salvation. according to orthodox (standard) Christianity, there are no other options. READ THE STORY.
of all the things that peter could have stressed in the only two letters he wrote to the church, he stresses Knowing Christ. he ends his second letter with these key words: “you must grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”
REASON 2 – FALSE PROPHETS
READ 2 PETER 2 Peter spends an entire chapter warning Christ-followers of false prophets, and he tells us that they will be found in every generation. they are found in other religions, on TV talk shows, and even in the church. they will take you down a path to ruin if they persuade you of anything other than the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ. you gotta know your stuff!
REASON 3 – EVANGELISM
Peter, with many other followers of Jesus, heard these final words of Jesus: READ ‘EM
all Christians are responsible for knowing and sharing Christ – no exceptions. Peter said it like this in 1 Peter 3.15-16 so ow are you gonna do that if you don’t know Christ. hmmm…..
REASON 4 – Daily Life
Christ-followers center their lives on Christ. KNOWLEDGE of Christ is the only way this makes sense. Peter reminds us of this in 2 Peter 1.3-5, 8
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION or DISCUSSION
1. if you were given a test today on just the very basic of Christian beliefs, what score would you earn? if not a 100, what will you do in the next 30 days to increase your grade? you might start here, by learning the 7 ESSENTIALS of our faith.
2. do you know the most basic storyline of the bible? in 5 minutes or less, could you tell it to someone else? if not, you might want to read or print THIS.
3. who is Jesus Christ to you personally? not to the world or to the church but to you? why do you attend church? is it about him? how well do you know him and his story in the four gospels? this is life and death stuff. if you haven’t read the gospel of john recently, now is a great time to do so.
4. what ‘false prophets’ can you identify in our current media? why do think they are false prophets? if you are convinced they are, can you point to scripture to refute them?
5. can you identify any defining moments in your life with Christ? can you share them with another person in a way that makes sense and is compelling? if not, practice. write it down or share it with your cell. be ready, says Peter. someone’s life may depend on it.
FOR FURTHER READING
Know What You Believe, by Paul Little
Simply Christian, by N.T. Wright
Concise Theology, by J.I. Packer
Knowing God, by J.I. Packer
Vintage Jesus, by Mark Driscoll
from the series: “Pete” – week 3 of 7