Sermons Updates

God’s Son and God’s Word (2 Peter 1:16-21) – Mark Ottaway

Guarded Christian Living: A Strong Faith at the Right Time

God’s Son and God’s Word 

  • Peter 1:16-21


Turn to 2 Peter 1. This far in 2 Peter, he has been pounding home the message of certainty and assurance, as he wants his readers to know that they are of the “same kind of faith.” He started by reminding them that God has given them everything to live the Christian life well, as well as the fact that the Christian’s own spiritual growth also gives him confidence of his faith. Peter is going to add to this, this morning, telling us of the two greatest sources of assurance we possess, the Person of Jesus Christ, and the Word of God as given to us by the Spirit. It is interesting in this passage that the emphasis on Christ is that he is the beloved Son of God. And the emphasis of the Scriptures is that they are the work of the Holy Spirit form God. So we are going to see the Trinity, the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit actively working this morning. Let’s pray before we begin. Lord, I pray that as we have the privilege of again opening up Your Word this morning that we would allow its truth to dig deep into our hearts. Be with each one gathered here this morning, that each one would know these two unshakable truths, the joy of Christ and the wisdom of God’s Word, amen.


Where were you on Sept 11, 2001, over 21 years ago, a very famous date? If you are old enough, I would bet that most of you know exactly where you were, when an attack was made against the United States. Working as a kitchen salesman at the time, I worked most Saturdays, so Tuesdays were usually my day off, so that particular Tuesday I was off. Turning on the news that morning, I remember calling Anne into the family room because a plane had a few moments earlier struck the World Trade Center in NY City. Thinking back now it is amazing the talk of the news people and reporters, because the initial response was that this was some kind of accident. Until, as we were watching live, another plane of course struck the same building, and then things started to unravel, that this was a deliberate attack, and there was a great fear. And President George Bush came forward and began to strategize what should be done. I remember them showing when Mr. Bush was speaking at a public school and one of his men came in and told him what was happening. I remember the look on his face. And there was this somewhat religious sense in America. The following Sunday, churches were fuller than they had been for a long time. Of course, this week we saw some of the devastation in Turkey with two major earthquakes. The first came in the early morning hours, rocking their world and rocking their security.


Likely one of the things that cause us such insecurity and uncertainty is the threat of change. Some of us may be more insecure than others, but generally, we are a people of insecurity. We desire certainty, don’t we, our own bed, Mom and Dad’s backyard, knowing what our children are doing, that they are all tucked in their little wooden beds. Knowing what is planned for next week. But that’s not always the case, for we don’t always know. Solomon said, “Even though a wise man claims to know, he cannot find out.” So we live with uncertainties. Some may go to work day after day but unsure about their job security. Some may live day after day unsure about the faithfulness of their spouse. Concerns about our children. Are they making wise decisions? Are they being obedient to Mom and Dad? Will we still be enjoying our house in ten years? Will there be more terrorist attacks? What about my health? What about the threat of things such as earthquakes and hurricanes? Will I have enough to retire? How will I be doing in 10 years? I will be old…er. Let’s face it, we really have very little control over the things in life.


It is interesting that for the most part, the things we have little control over are actually the things that are temporal and earthly. The things we own, our cars, our home. Even our children soon grow up, don’t they? Probably one of the greatest joys of my life was being a Dad. Well I am still a Dad and now a granddad. And all those ages that we just wanted to keep our kids at, we now want to keep our grandkids at. As they go through their stages in life, let’s just keep you at 4 or 8 or 12 or 16, as you grow to love them right where they are, but life goes on. And then there are the deep spiritual things of life. My relationship with God, my salvation. Someone once said that 100 years from now, the certainty of my salvation will be the most important thing to me. Remember what Peter said to us last Sunday (vs 10), “Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to make your calling and choosing sure.” That ought to be something more than anything else, that I would want to be certain about. That I know for certain. That I believe in Christ. That I have received Him. That I have trusted in Him to forgive me. That I am serving Him. That He is the Lord of my life. Yet there may be questions that come to our minds. Paul thought about some of these, as he said to the Corinthians:

“… if there is no resurrection of the dead, not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain…For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins.” Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished.”

  • Cor 15:13-14; 16-18 (LSB)


In other words, if everything you believe is not true, then you are not saved, and Paul says you will perish. He concludes by saying, that if in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied. The old King James says, we are of all men most miserable. Who knows what would happen if none of this were true, if there were no God, imagine. But what if there was a God, who did punish sin, but there was no Christ who died, no one to pay the price. Certainty and uncertainty, knowing and not knowing? So, Peter begins to address this issue.

“For we did not make known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, following cleverly devised myths, but being eyewitnesses of His majesty.”

2 Pet 1:16 (LSB)


Peter from the start, wants to set the record straight. Because we can tell by his statement that there were some among God’s people who were questioning Scripture. Now there have been many who have opposed the truth throughout the history of the church. But we are living in a very unique season, when the truth of God’s Word is being challenged even within churches. Now this has been an ongoing thing from the outside of the church, but this attack as with some in the New Testament, is within evangelical churches. John MacArthur said this, “Who would have thought that people claiming to be Christians – even pastors – would attack the very notion of truth? But they are.” So, Peter reassures us of something, that the truth that he is writing about is not “cleverly devised myths.” Peter says that this truth it is not human thinking, it is not humanly produced, it is not what they were talking about last week on the morning talk show, it is not what is being talked about at the public school, and it is not what is being talked about in parliament. For this is not the world’s wisdom. No, this is God’s truth revealed to us through His Son and revealed to us through His Word. And neither His Son nor His Word will ever change. This, among all the uncertain things in life is certain. This, among all the changing things in life is unchanging. So, let’s look at Peter’s reasoning.


  1. An Eyewitness Account (vs 16-18)


“For we did not make known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, following cleverly devised myths, but being eyewitnesses of His majesty. For when He received honor and glory from God the Father, such an utterance as this was made to Him by the Majestic Glory, “This is My beloved Son with whom I am well-pleased”⁠—and we ourselves heard this utterance made from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain.”

2 Pet 1:16-18 (LSB)


Peter begins this section with the word “for.” This takes us back to the certainty of our salvation, for which Peter is certain, as he sees the Lord’s work in his life. And then he says “we.” This is not just Peter, for there are the other apostles. The others who wrote the Scriptures, also Paul. They did not follow cleverly devised myths. Anne and I were speaking with some folks from Elim the other day, and we realize the blessing of those who together hold to the Scriptures. Especially at a time when the world has completely abandoned almost every avenue of faith and even many churches are deserting the faith, to have brothers and sisters that hold to the same faith is such a blessing. Don’t overlook that blessing, because it could get worse. As the world’s opposition gets stronger and stronger, and the number of Bible-believing Christians gets smaller and smaller. So, when you come to church and sit beside someone who agrees, who too would give their life for the faith, that is a blessing! I love the words of John:

“What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we beheld and touched with our hands, concerning the Word of Life⁠—and the life was manifested, and we have seen and bear witness and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was manifested to us⁠—what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, so that you may also have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ.

  • John 1:1-3 (LSB)


Do you get the picture? Is John excited here or what? We have seen that this is all true! said the Apostle John. The Apostle Paul too gives a firsthand report in 1 Corinthians 15. He speaks about Christ dying for sins. That He was raised. That Peter saw Him, then the 12. Then He appeared to more than 500. He appeared to James and all the apostles. And Paul says He appeared to me also. Well, what did they see?


  1. The Power of Christ


Peter (vs 16) speaks about this power, “make known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” The Old Testament had predicted this coming Messiah and King. And this is what the apostles experienced. One who is God in the flesh. The One who is above all things, who is all-powerful. The writer of Hebrews calls Him the Creator. Isaiah calls Him the Mighty God. In the book of Colossians, Paul says that He is eternal. John Piper wrote his book, What Jesus Demands from the World, stating that all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Christ. Though the world does not yet know, but Christ has full authority over them. Piper notes that when Jesus gave His final instructions to his followers, He said that all authority had been given to Him, and that they were not to teach them God’s commandments, but that they were to teach others to keep all that Christ commanded. Christ has all authority over you. Christ’s authority is over your next-door neighbour, over that co-worker that curses Christ every day. Christ’s authority is over our Prime Minister. Whether we acknowledge it or not, Christ has the authority, so that we are obedient to His commands, over all the choices I make, and how we choose to live. Lord, all that I am, all that I have, all that I ever will be is Yours, the power of Christ.


  1. The Coming of Christ


The very fact that Jesus came as the Scriptures said that He would. Peter says becomes a certainty to us of the truth of His Word. There are over 100 references in the Old Testament prophesying of the coming of Christ. Where He would be born. From Abraham, from Isaac, from David. That He would come from Judah. That He would be born of a woman, born of a virgin. There would be children slain in Bethlehem when he was born. Called into Egypt. Preaching in parables. Hated by the Jews. Sold for thirty pieces of silver. His suffering, smitten on the cheek, spit on, whipped, nailed to a cross, forsaken, His garments taken, and pierced. The Old Testament speaks of His death, burial, resurrection, and ascension. Approximately 700 years before Christ came the prophet Isaiah wrote: …

“Surely our griefs He Himself bore, And our sorrows He carried; Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, Smitten of God, and afflicted. But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our peace fell upon Him, And by His wounds we are healed. All of us like sheep have gone astray, Each of us has turned to his own way; But Yahweh has caused the iniquity of us all To fall on Him. He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He did not open His mouth; Like a lamb that is led to slaughter, And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, So He did not open His mouth.”

Is 53:4-7 (LSB)


The very fact that He came, as the Scriptures have told us the first time, makes certain that He will come again the second time. Jesus Himself said to Peter and the other apostles as He ascended into heaven:

“Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking toward heaven? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven.”

Acts 1:11 (LSB)


The power of Christ, the coming of Christ, and thirdly:


  1. c) The Majestic Glory of Christ


Let’s not overlook Peter’s firsthand account. Peter says in verse 16:

“But being eyewitnesses of His majesty. For when He received honor and glory from God the Father, such an utterance as this was made to Him by the Majestic Glory, ‘This is My beloved Son with whom I am well-pleased’⁠—and we ourselves heard this utterance made from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain.”

2 Pet 1:16b-18 (LSB)


As a young guy growing up in Stoney Creek, just outside of Hamilton, we used to go see the Hamilton Tiger-Cats play at least once a year. Not really sure what the hype is about the Super Bowl when Canadian Football is so much better! But since then over the years my guys have been to a few games. And as I had mentioned to you once before that I specifically remember one game about 10 years ago when the Cats were down late, and Dave Stalla of Hamilton made this great catch for the touchdown. The great part about it was not only that this won the game for Hamilton, but it was right in front of us where we were sitting. A week or so later I was talking to my brother on the phone, and during the conversation, he happened to say, did you see Dave Stalla’s catch for the Cats on TV? What did I say? Did I see it? I was there! When Dave Stalla made his catch, I was there! I saw it first hand!


Peter says we saw Him!. And we were there when God the Father spoke to Him, saying, this is My beloved Son, whom I am well-pleased. He is the One whom this book speaks about. And Peter and the disciples lived with Him. And Peter, James, and John heard the voice speak to Him. Peter says this is a certainty. This is what changed me from a cowardly, timid, fearful fisherman; to one who was willing to die for Him, which He did. So, we can understand Peter’s passion. We saw Him! We heard the voice.

“and we ourselves heard this utterance made from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain.”

2 Pet 1:18 (LSB)


Let’s look at that for a moment. This event which Peter is referring to is found in Matthew 17.

1 “And six days later Jesus brought with Him Peter and James and John his brother, and led them up on a high mountain by themselves. 2 And He was transfigured before them”


This word “transfigured” is a Greek word meaning to change into another form. We really know little more than that.

“and his face (Jesus’ face) shone like the sun, and his garments became as white as light. 3 And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him.”


John’s gospel adds that they were talking about His departure and the events in Jerusalem.

4 “And Peter answered and said to Jesus, ‘Lord, it is good for us to be here; if You wish, I will make three booths here, one for You, and one for Moses, and one for Elijah.’”


Now it is interesting that Peter does not even get a response to his suggestion. How awkward we can feel when we say something and no one responds. Mark’s gospel adds that he said this because he didn’t know what to say and that they were terrified.

5 “While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and behold, a voice out of the cloud said, ‘This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased.’”


And then what does it say? Listen to Him! And then the Mark account says that suddenly there was only Jesus. Man, talk about your heart beating! And now Peter says in 2 Pet 1, I was there boys! What a life-changing event! I was there! It’s interesting in John 9:36, it says after this event, “they [Peter, James, and John] kept silent and told no one in those days anything of what they had seen.” In fact, in this passage Matthew 17:9 says:

“And as they were coming down from the mountain, Jesus commanded them, saying, ‘Tell the vision to no one until the Son of Man has risen from the dead.’”

Matt 17:9 (LSB)


Well, Christ now has risen, and Peter is now writing his letter. I was there! We can understand this passion and enthusiasm from Peter. I was there! This is not about a myth or some phony event. But James, John, and I were eyewitnesses of His glory! Now Peter likely said, me, James, and John. Because remember we said when we started this series that Peter’s Greek is brutal. So, Peter says me, James, and John were eyewitnesses of His glory, and we saw Christ, and His face shone like the sun, and His clothes were white. And we saw Moses and Elijah, and we heard the voice of the Father! So, for Peter, there was a certainty. And therefore, he was willing to live and die for Christ. Because He did come. He did die. He did rise from the dead. And His Father spoke to Him. And I was there! Peter goes on (vs 19) “And we have as more sure the prophetic word.” You know you and I were not there. We were not on the mountain. In fact, we are 2000 years removed from the event. But our certainty is based on Christ, His power and His coming, and the eyewitness record of Peter and John and James. As well as Paul’s account. But there is more.

“And we have as more sure the prophetic word, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts.”

2 Pet 1:19 (LSB)


Not only do we have an eyewitness account of hundreds of people. We also have:


  1. A Written Account


And Peter says, pay attention to it! What did the Father say regarding Christ, listen to Him! And now what does Peter say regarding Scripture, pay attention to it! For it brings with it light, on all the issues of life that you and I struggle with. It answers the deep questions that the internet will not answer. Even in the darkest place, when life from a human perspective doesn’t make sense, still God’s Word gives purpose and direction. Light that comes from God’s Word to answer the unanswerable questions. To know that the Creator God from eternity past has recorded for us the things we need to know. And how long are we to do this Peter? (vs 19), “until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts.” Until the day we receive our glorified bodies, the day when you and I are perfected.


Question. Do you pay attention to the Word? Is it your source for truth, direction, and decision making? Or is it you? Or is it those who influence you? Or those things that influence you? If those in the church are paying attention to Scripture, then why is there so many questions about the Bible in churches? Why are there actually debates about biblical marriage? Why all the questioning of the Genesis account? Why is there a debate among evangelicals about the existence of an eternal hell? Why would we believe what the Bible says about heaven? As no Christian, no church, is questioning heaven, and yet disbelieve what the Bible says about hell?


Folks, we cannot claim to be a believer in God, in His Son, in what Christ did for us on the cross, and not believe everything that the HS has told us in His Word. Do you know what people want to do today? Is to say, “I don’t think.” You talk to people and they will say, I don’t think God would do this, or this does not seem to make sense to me. We live in a very individualistic society, such individualism even within churches, where everyone comes with their own views about God, but not always biblical truth. So, when the Bible speaks of creation, marriage, parenting, church discipline, and election; most will come with their own view. Why is that? Yet Peter says, pay attention to the Word. We have an eyewitness account, and we have a written account. Let’s pray. Father, we thank You for Your Son, who truly came, lived and died on our behalf. Lord, this we believe. And we praise You for Your Word given to us through the work of the Spirit. This too we believe. Amen.


In 1 Kings 22, Israel and Judah are now two nations. And Israel was being threatened by the king of Syria. Israel’s king is Ahab, whom the Bible says, did evil in the sight of the Lord. Judah’s king is Jehoshaphat, whom the Bible describes as a godly king. So, because of the threat, Ahab sends a message to Jehoshaphat, asking him to assist Israel in battle. And Jehoshaphat says in 1 Kings 22:5, “inquire first for the Word of the Lord.” So, Ahab summons those who called themselves prophets, but had no regard for the truth of God. I was always confused when reading this as a young guy. Thinking how could a prophet have no regard for the truth. yet we have pastors today who have no regard for much of the truth. And they respond to go up and fight. But Jehoshaphat said is there not a prophet of the Lord who we can inquire?. And King Ahab says this:

“And the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, ‘There is yet one man by whom we may inquire of Yahweh, but I hate him, because he does not prophesy good concerning me, but evil.’”

  • King 22:8a (LSB)


In other words, I don’t want the truth. I want someone to comfort me. How does the story play out? Micaiah, the prophet, warns Ahab of death, but he goes to war anyway, and is killed in battle. Peter would have said to Ahab, you would have done well to pay attention to the Word of the Lord.

“And we have as more sure the prophetic word, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts.”

2 Pet 1:19 (LSB)


The Word of God is like a lamp shining in a dark place. “Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet.” This book brings light to all falsehood. This book brings light to all lies. This book gives to us many warnings. It also gives God’s wisdom and God’s direction. It tells of salvation and warns of hell. It is the entire truth, complete, it is the whole Bible. Complete Scripture having absolute authority in the believer’s life. When Paul stood before Felix in Acts 24, he said that he believed everything written. So, Peter says, pay attention to it.

“Know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes by one’s own interpretation.”

2 Pet 1:20 (LSB)


Therefore, be careful, be careful. Dads, teaching your children, be careful.

“For no prophecy was ever made by the will of man, but men being moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.”

2 Pet 1:21 (LSB)


This is not man’s book. It is God’s. Is the matter settled for you this morning in your heart? Not just in your head, but deep within your heart. Do you believe everything that is written? Are you certain, really certain of God’s truth? Does Scripture have complete authority in your life? Not do you place it in front of others to obey, but do you obey it yourself? Does it determine for you, what you believe? how you live? even the fine details of your life? Is there an area of your life that is outside of His Word? Peter would say to you this morning, you would do well to pay attention to it. That you and I don’t act by how we feel or think, but in complete obedience to Scripture. Let’s pray. Father, You have given us Christ and Your Word. Make us obedient in all areas of our lives. And for those things we do not yet know, may we study Your Word to find out. And all God’s people said, amen.