Christianity: TRUTH or MYTH?

Here’s the sermon outline from 2 Peter 1:12-21 “TRUTH or MYTH?”. You can hear the audio here.

2 Peter 1:12-21 “TRUTH OR MYTH?”

Intro: This weekend our oldest child turned 6. One of the gifts she received is a book of fairy tales. Last night we read some together and they are delightful stories, but we all know they didn’t really happen. Now some people would say the Bible is just like that—delightful stories that didn’t really happen. The Bible teaches God is our Creator, we are lost in our sin, Jesus is the Savior who dies for our sins on the cross, the only way to be saved from hell and estrangement from God and others is through faith in Christ. Some would say, ‘That all just a bunch of fairy tales and myths.’
———–Each of us is faced with this question: Is Christianity TRUE? Or it a bunch of myths?—————-
Lewis:Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, is of infinite importance. The only thing it cannot be is moderately important.
This question about the TRUTHFULNESS OF CHRISTIANITY is not a new one, but one that Christians have been facing with since the time of Jesus. In Peter’s day some false teachers were leading people away from Christ by claiming that the apostles were just making it all up. The false teachers especially attacked the idea that one day Jesus would return to Earth to rule as Lord and King.
Today, I hope you’ll be reminded with me that Christianity is true and there are good reasons for knowing this is so. The burden of 2 Peter is to keep us from falling into the error of false teaching and to grow in the knowledge and grace of Christ. Here in our passage, Peter helps us by reminding us of the TRUTHFULNESS of Christianity and giving us some reasons for knowing why this is so.
OUTLINE: 1. Christianity shows us the TRUTH about God. 2. There Are Good Reasons for Believing Christianity is TRUE.

1. Christianity Shows Us the TRUTH about God (1:12-15)
Elizabeth Urbanowicz in her worldview curriculum says, “TRUTH is what is REAL.” This is a good definition. Christianity claims to tell us who God really is, what he is really like, how we might really come to know him. Since this is the case, it would mean that all other views which contradict it are false. The TRUTHFULNESS of Christianity is a KEY insight from our passage. Let’s see how Peter gets us there. READ 12-15
CONTEXT: In 12-15 Peter is telling us why he wrote this letter:
      –He is going to die soon (14) “since I know that the putting off of my body will be soon, as our Lord Jesus Christ made clear to me.”
 
      –Wants us to remember what he taught after death: (15)“And I will make every effort so that after my departure you may be able at any time to recall these things.” =writing of this letter; possibly also gospel of Mark
-KEY POINT: Christians we HAVE ALREADY come to know the truth        “I intend always to remind you of these qualities, though you know them and are established in the truth that you have.”
DOCTRINE: As Christians we have the truth about God, this truth has come to us in Christ and through His Word. It is not arrogant or irrational to claim to know the truth about God, it is a gift given to us in Christ.
      –CHILDREN: Don’t become a Christian to please your parents. Believe in Jesus because Christianity is TRUE!
Peter Wants to STIR US UP BY REMINDERTherefore I intend always to remind you of these qualities, though you know them….I think it right…to stir you up by way of reminder”
                  à
STIR UP: Fire about to go out, need to be stirred up to be rekindled.APP: We too need to be STIRRED up by REMINDER! We don’t need new teaching or experiences.
      -REMINDERS COME THIS WAY: daily Bible reading, memorization, mediation, fellowship, CG, church.

Christianity is TRUE and if you are a Christian you have been established in the TRUTH, but we need to be stirred up regularly by REMINDING ourselves the precious TRUTHS of the Scriptures.

2. There are Good Reasons for Believing Christianity is True (16-21)
There are LOTS of good reasons we can know that Christianity is true. Here Peter gives us two to consider: 1. The eyewitness of the apostles; 2. The Witness of the Old Testament
WITNESS
is someone who has seen something and can tell others about it. The TESTIMONY of a WITNESS is valid of knowing something happened or is true. Here we have two witnesses which show us the truthfulness of Christianity.

1ST REASON TO BELIEVE CHRISTIANITY IS TRUE: The EYEWITNESS OF THE APOSTLES (16-18)
Apostles
were a unique group of individuals in church history who lived with Jesus, learned from him, saw him after his resurrection, and were entrusted by him to lead others the truth.

Little Piggy went to Market NOTE the 5 we’s of this passage! (WE= “apostles”)
-WE Apostles didn’t Follow made up stories (16): “For we did not follow cleverly devised myths”
-WE Apostles TAUGHT ABOUT JESUS: “We made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ,
      –This refers to the RETURN OF CHRIST. One day Jesus will return in glory and power and will bring in the kingdom of God. He will come with angels and his people.
                  -This was a belief undermined by the false teachers (then and TODAY).-WE Apostles were “Eyewitnesses of his majesty”: Saw Jesus’ miracles, teaching, arrest, resurrection.
      -“Majesty” refers to MAJESTY OF JESUS AT HIS TRANSFIGURATION
TRANSFIGURATION (READ 17-18): This was an event recorded for us in the synoptic gospels where Jesus went up a mountain with Peter, James and John. While there, his appearance was transfigured—his “face shone like the sun” and his clothing became “white as light.” Elijah and Moses show up and speak with Jesus; a “bright cloud” overshadows them and they hear the voice of God the Father declare “this is my beloved Son, listen to Him.”
-What Happened at the Transfiguration? à Confirmed Jesus is the promised Messiah, the Son of God, king of Israel.
      –At Transfiguration Jesusreceived honor and glory from God the Father” and Confirmation of God Father in heaven!
                  -Peter saw Jesus in the glorious state that he will be in when he returns. Proves truth of 2nd coming.
ANALOGY: Punk concert tonight at my house. Me with mohawk and band playing a RANCID cover… Peter saw Jesus in his glorious state that he will have when he returns.
      –WE Apostles were Earwitnesses “we ourselves heard this very voice borne from heaven”
      –WE Apostles were on the mountain with Jesus
APP: It is rational and right for us to believe Christianity tells us the truth about God because it is written by EYEWITNESSES of Jesus, who is himself the TRUTH of God. 

2nd REASON TO BELIEVE CHRISTIANITY IS TRUE: The WITNESS OF THE OLD TESTAMENT (19-21)
The OT is a second witness to the TRUTH of Christianity.  Referred to as “prophetic word.”
-A more fully confirmed word:And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed,”
     
-The OT was already trustworthy and reliable, but now that the Messiah has come and fulfilled the prophecies about him, it is EVEN MORE FULLY CONFIRMED.
                              –ANALOGY: I know my wife loves me, but when I am sick and in bed I really see it!
-The OT is TRUSTWORTHY and INSPIRED:
      –Not mere product of humans: (20-21) knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man,
      -The OT is FROM GOD: (21b)but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.
                  -The HOLY SPIRIT carried men along.
                  -Men “spoke from God”
APP: The Bible is God’s VERY WORD! We GET to hear from God! This is our privilege and treasure!

-Peter shows us how we as Christians ought to be led by the Scriptures:
      –PAY ATTENTION TO IT: to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place
                 
DARK PLACE: THE darkness of SIN.  (in the world; evil desires in our OWN hearts)
                  –LAMP SHINING: The LIGHT of God’s Word giving us TRUTH (lamp shining)
                              -BEAR GRILLS in the pitch-black underground caves, follows crack of light to get out
APP: We need to do a better job of paying attention to God’s Word in this way. Our problem is distractions.

-A FINAL HOPE FOR US is that the end in sight
: “to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts,
      –DAY DAWNS: the return of KING JESUS
      -“morning star rises in your hearts”: morning star was the star that came right before the dawn.
                  -Metaphor to point us to this hope: Jesus will rise and shine on our hearts. ALL WILL BE MADE RIGHT!

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