(Transcribed from the Words of Life Radio Program)

     Thank you for listening to this Words of Life Radio Ministry as we bring the Word of God to you.  The title for the lesson is: “Always Remind You.”  And the primary text is taken from the New Testament Second Peter chapter 1, verses 12 through 18.  Please listen to the Word of God.

     “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.
For we did not follow cleverly devised stories when we told you about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ in power, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. He received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain.” This is the Word of God.

     Wisdom for life can be learned in many ways and at different stages in our lives.  For some towards the end of their lives deeper reflection and counsel can provide wisdom for us.  This is the case for three mature Christians as they reveal some of the important truths they have learned and desire to share with others.  Two of them we know a lot about as they are prominent persons in the New Testament of the Bible.  One, some of us knew personally as we interacted with him to some extent many, many years ago.  He also had wisdom to impart that I took notes of dating back to the year of our Lord 1996: twenty-four years ago.

      All three of these Christians knew their time in this life was short and wanted us to benefit from their life experiences.  From the wisdom they had gained from the Lord.  We would all do well to listen carefully and apply these wise principals to our lives and share them with others.

      The first is a man very familiar to us as the leader of the twelve apostles, Peter.  He knew that he was approaching death, he deeply desired to remind and to reinforce fellow Christians regarding the most important truths of our faith.  Listen to the words he wrote in a general letter or epistle to those of like precious faith as I have already read in Second Peter chapter 1 verse 12 and following.  “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.”

     Here Simon Peter reshared what he had learned over the years of his life, and which is still true today that repetition for remembrance is usually necessary for truths to deeply lodge in our minds and hearts.

“Remind you of these things” refers back to the greatness of salvation in Second Peter chapter 1 verses 1 through 4 and the importance of assurance that we can have in salvation in Second Peter chapter 1 verses 5 through 11; These are truths so crucial they must never be forgotten no matter the trials and troubles we experience in this life that may dull their memory.

     Note the words of Peter: “as long as I live in the tent of this body.”  Our tendency today is to endeavor to cling to these current bodies however, mature early Christians knew their bodies were just like ‘tents’.  This imagery was drawn from their familiar image of Middle Eastern nomads that lived in portable tents.  Peter understood, as should we, that God has a much, much better ‘housing’ for true believers.  That these current bodies are perishable, corruptible, and temporary.  However, our glorified bodies promised to all faithful believers will be imperishable, incorruptible, and immortal, that is eternal.

     One day, as it was for Simon Peter, unless we are alive at the coming in the air of Christ, God will fold up our current tents to free our eternal spirits to enter heaven and eventually receive our glorified bodies.  So, death for the believer is both an exit from this life but also an entrance into paradise.  That’s very good to remember.

     Peter continued to write: “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.”

     Peter meant he knew he would soon put aside his tent, that is his temporal body, and die.  According to Bible Scholars, Peter was likely in his 70’s as he wrote this letter and likely in a Roman prison for his testimony of Jesus Christ as Lord, as King, as the one true God.  His death was imminent.  He had prophesied that Peter would die about 40 years earlier.

     Consider the gospel of John chapter 21 verses 18 through 19 “I tell you the truth, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.  Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God.”  Tradition states that Peter was crucified upside down, probably refusing to be crucified like his Lord less some would seek to worship him.

     Some might think it cruel that Christ would reveal this to Simon Peter.  But they discount that Christ also stated that Peter would “glorify God” in the end, that is giving Simon Peter the assurance in advance that he would be faithful even in martyrdom which would have strengthened him tremendously for the future.

     And how did Peter “make every effort to see that after my departure you will always be able to remember these things?”  By his writing of this epistle, or letter, that has been preserved and heard or read by millions upon millions over twenty plus centuries, as it is again being today in your hearing.

     In Second Peter chapter 1 verses 16 through 18 Peter desires we never forget that he was and “eyewitness of his majesty.”  That is that Jesus Christ is King of kings; That Jesus Christ is the one and only, unique Son of God in whom the Father is well pleased.  That truth we must not forget and testify to its truthfulness to all others that will hear.

     The second mature Christian some of us knew personally also had wisdom that he desired to impart to others.  His name is Richard Ramsey, a minister of the gospel, and an educator having earned, I believe, a PhD in Biblical Studies and having held the ‘Bible Chair’ at Southeastern Louisiana University at Hammond for many years.

     I fondly remember hearing Richard Ramsey speak here when I attending our annual Fellowship on a number of occasions.  Brother Ramsey was a brilliant man, moreover a faithful servant of our Lord Jesus Christ.  In 1995 Brother Ramsey was told that he had about one year to live due to bone cancer.

     As he put it, he thought of himself as the best seller book entitled “Dead Man Walking” referring to those on death row.  Since he knew he was dying and that his time was short, yet while he still could, he wanted to impart wisdom that he had learned to hopefully benefit others.

      Of course, this is, in a sense, applicable to every one of us today because in our current bodies we are all dying physically and need wisdom for the time we have left and to finish rightly with God, faithful to the end.  Christ conquered death so that one day for each of us, true believers, we also would be “more than conquerors.”  Whether we die physically or not we know, we must never forget that the eternal life-giver is Jesus Christ, is in Christ Jesus and he is coming again.

     Listen to the words of Richard Ramsey that he shared at a gospel meeting to remind us and that we should not forget. “I have been a dead man walking.  I have a year with cancer which is teaching me many lessons which could help others.”

  • Blood sustains us physically and spiritually. I am presently physically alive because other people have donated blood transfused into my body.  I regret that during my lifetime I was not a frequent blood donor.  I am living on other’s blood!  So, it is spiritually without the blood of Jesus Christ I am undone, disaster!  Hebrews chapter 9 verse 22 “Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.”  First John chapter 1 verse 7 “The blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.”  This never forget.
  • Outward appearances do not prove anything! God looks inside at the heart.  First Corinthians chapter 4 verse 5 “He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men’s hearts.”
  • Regarding visiting the sick, Biblical visiting means to cook a meal, clean the house, give a caretaker a break by sitting with the sick person while he or she can run errands. Your visit should be beneficial not just social as I have learned well in my state with cancer.  This should be remembered and practiced.
  • I guess the greatest lesson I am learning is that God is good, God is merciful and loving. One bad year after 75 good years is hardly to be complained of.  And how good God is to me now!  It took six weeks of confinement to bed just to teach me the blessing of being able to get up and go to the dining table and to care for myself.
  • One final observation: How good my brothers and sisters in Christ have been to me. The cards and phone calls have bolstered my courage again and again.  Repeatedly a 5-minute phone call from a Christian brother or sister has changed my day from one of gloom to one of glory.  Thanks to everyone who takes time to cheer me up.

First John chapter 3 and verse 11 “This is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another.”  We should all strive to love in action. This we must not forget.

     These are the wise words and counsel of Brother Richard Ramsey in his “effort to see that after his departure you will always be able to remember these things.”  His words today repeated for our benefit.

     Lastly the wise words of another apostle towards the end of his life, knowing that soon his tent, as a tentmaker, would also be folded up.

     Second Timothy chapter 4 verses 6 through 8 “For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time has come for my departure.  I have fought the good fight.  I have finished the race; I have kept the faith.  Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.”

     The apostle Paul was also a suffering servant, his life on earth did not end on a soft bed, nevertheless he was faithful to the end.  That is what really counts!

     God doesn’t promise anyone paradise on this earth in this age.  God does promise he will never leave us, nor forsake us as we also persevere in him, come what may.

     We would all do well to remember these things, teach them to others; never forgetting the example of Christians like Peter, Paul and Richard Ramsey and knowing “I can do everything through him who gives me strength.”

     And as I remind you that: Today is the day of salvation if you will now receive Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord.  Repenting of your sins.  Putting your faith in Jesus Christ.  Confessing him as your savior and Lord before men.  Being willing to obey the gospel in baptism, being immersed into Christ and persevering in your faith to the end. This is your invitation to come to him, even today.

          David Johnson is minister of the Sellersburg Church of Christ, Sellersburg, IN.