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2-19-23 Who Has Your Attention?

Who Has Your Attention? (2 Peter 1:16-21)

David Peterson / General

Worldview; Philosophy / 2 Peter 1:16–21

Sermon Type: Textual-Topical

Proposition: We’ve been given clarity about the truth. We do well to focus on it. The truth is found in Jesus.


1. The end of Epiphany (Revelation) and on to Lent (Redemption)

I. We’ve been given a great gift (2 Peter 1:19a)

1. The word of OT, law and prophets, Moses and Elijah

2. Brought out in all their clarity in Christ

3. What does it look like? He just described it: (2 Peter 1:5-9)

a. Christian faith perfects nature. Christian virtues are human virtues.

As the excellence of steel is strength, and the excellence of art is beauty, so the excellence of mankind is moral character.

Source: A. W. Tozer

James “Deacon” White played at the very dawn of professional baseball. In fact, on May 4, 1871, James White had the very first hit, in the first game, of the first professional baseball league. It was a double. He was the first catcher to use a mask and the first pitcher to go into a wind-up before throwing the ball.

Over his 20 year career, White played for teams in Cincinnati, Buffalo, Detroit, Boston, Pittsburgh, before joining the team that became the Chicago Cubs. White would eventually become the oldest player in the Baseball Hall of Fame. It’s not an exaggeration to say that White helped create the game of baseball we know today.

The inscription on White’s plaque in the Hall of Fame, however, doesn’t begin with the words “19th century star of baseball,” or “premier catcher of his era,” or “led teams to six championships,” although all three phrases are there. The first words on the plaque are “Consummate gentleman.” At a time when professional athletes were seen as unsavory, hard-drinking, womanizers, James White earned the nickname “Deacon” for his commitment to Christian faith and virtue which were evident to everyone who saw him play.

For example, in 1878, the Indianapolis Journal reported that an umpire actually consulted with White, a player on the field, about whether the base runner was out. When the opponent complained, the ump declared, “When White says a thing is so it is so, and that is the end of it.”

In 1886, the Detroit Free Press wrote:

No one ever yet heard Deacon White say dammit; no one ever saw him spike or trample upon an opponent; no one ever saw him hurl his bat towards the bench when he struck out; no one ever heard him wish the umpire were where the wicked never cease from troubling and the weary never give us a rest. And think of it! Nineteen years of provocation! Will anybody deny that Deacon White is a great and good man, as well as a first-class ballplayer?

Source: Skye Jethani, “Celebrating the Slowness of Baseball,” Skye Jethani blog (11-1-16)

II. The danger is getting distracted, being held captive by darkness (2 Peter 1:19b)

1. Last week we spoke of worldliness as looking at this world. Now, thinking like the world (the corruption of 1 Peter 1:4 which leads to lack of sight 1 Peter 1:9)

Epicureans taught that the world originated in the random movements of atoms in the empty space. They denied any possibility of life after death. They also rejected both religious and philosophical accounts of the world that understood its order to be based on a divine (or rational) intelligence. Therefore they claimed to free humans from ideas of divine providence, fate, and myths of divine punishment. Consequently people should arrange their lives to have as much pleasure and as little pain as possible.

Perkins, P. (2010). Exegetical Perspective on 2 Peter 1:16–21. In D. L. Bartlett & B. B. Taylor (Eds.), Feasting on the Word: Preaching the Revised Common Lectionary: Year A (Vol. 1, p. 449). Westminster John Knox Press.

2. “Assumptions are caught and bought without an open, conscious dialogue” (Truth Project, Lesson 2)

There seems to be a pervasive idea today that if you have a moral center you are somehow robbing yourself of experiencing life. Fortunately, there are numerous examples that prove this does not have to be the case.

Growing up in the spotlight comes with its own unique challenges, especially if you are raised with a moral standard different from the Hollywood “norm.” Keke Palmer knows a thing or two about navigating these challenges to her identity. Palmer grew up as a Disney actress on Akeelah and the Bee. As you know, Disney child-actors and actresses do not always fair well into adulthood (insert image of Miley Cyrus here). But Palmer went on to star in films like Ice Age and Hustlers.

Recently, she shared a message with her Instagram followers about what it really means to stay true to yourself:

Growing up I was often teased for being “wholesome,” the shows I acted on, the fact that I had a bedtime on tour, and even sometimes the way I spoke. What I hated most was that people assumed that because of all these things I somehow hadn’t experienced life.

In a parallel post on Twitter, she wrote: “IDK (I don’t know) who needs to hear this, but there is nothing wrong, lame or corny about being wholesome.”

Source: Vanessa Jackson, “Keke Palmer Recalls Being Teased For Being ‘Wholesome’ in Heartfelt Message” Eonline (9-14-20)

To Increase Equity, School Districts Eliminate Honors Classes Feb. 17, 2023 Wall Street Journal

Jealousy is the tribute mediocrity pays to genius.“ — Fulton J. Sheen

III. We must pay attention, remembering the promise (2 Peter 1:19c)

1. We are exhorted to grow in the grace and knowledge of Christ, see end of letter which mirrors beginning (1 Peter 3:18).

Most commentators take this phrase to refer to the goal or product of the virtues: virtuous conduct leads to fuller knowledge of Christ

Bauckham, R. J. (1983). 2 Peter, Jude (Vol. 50, p. 188). Word, Incorporated.

2. Having this hope we seek to be purified (1 John 3:3)


Oh! to be like Thee, blessed Redeemer,

This is my constant longing and prayer;

Gladly I’ll forfeit all of earth’s treasures,

Jesus, Thy perfect likeness to wear.


Oh! to be like Thee, oh! to be like Thee,

Blessed Redeemer, pure as Thou art;

Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness;

Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart.

Thomas O. Chisholm (1897)


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