Remember What You Already Know!

2 Peter 1:10-11 says:

Therefore, my brothers and sisters, make every effort to confirm your calling and election. For if you do these things, you will never stumble, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Peter says this to sum up a long section where he talks about adding Christian virtues to your faith. What he then says is interesting. 2 Peter 1:15:

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….And I will make every effort to see that after my departure you will always be able to remember these things.

memory-279904_1280Every Sunday ministers feel the need to present something novel to their listeners. And the listeners often judge a sermon by whether it presents a new idea or a new viewpoint on an old idea.

But how many Christians judge the quality of a sermon by whether it reminds you of things you already know, things that you need to be reminded of because it is dangerous to forget them?

Instead, we’d probably complain that the preacher has become repetitive or boring. Peter doesn’t seem to care that the some might consider it boring to hear core elements repeated in his teaching. That type of preaching shouldn’t be boring, because it is so important that we hear it.

It’s indicative of a shallowness in the culture of our churches that we demand innovation. For a people whose faith is supposed to have remained unchanged for two millennia, we are hungry for the next person who can give us a new insight or completely turn our view of Christianity upside-down. For a people who could use a constant reminder of the simple yet profound summary statements of Christian living –– “Love God with all you heart, soul, mind, and strength” and “Love your neighbor as yourself” –– we sure do yearn for someone to give us a breath-taking new way of looking at the Christian life.

Yes, we need teaching. And, yes, our preachers and teachers need to work hard to communicate the Word of God effectively to their audiences. But we should be satisfied with effective communication of the truths we already know.

How many times have you heard someone say something like, “That was a great sermon; I’d never looked at things that way before”? How many times (comparatively) have you heard someone say, “That was a great sermon; I need to be reminded of those things so that I don’t forget them”?

I guess we’d rather run the risk of danger than be bored.

(For the record, I know Christians who love sermons which remind them of basic Christian teachings. My point is not that no one appreciates being reminded of Christian truths they already know; it is that so many Christians are so interested in the new and novel and unexpected that there is not a great appreciation for such reminders.)

Join other dedicated readers of Thinking and Believing and subscribe to the email list. You'll receive every new post in your inbox, so you never have to worry about missing a post. Click here to subscribe.