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God's Plan for the Future
2 Peter 3:9-19
God’s Plan for the Future
2 Peter 3:9-18
9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. Intro. The future has always been a topic of discussion no matter what age you lived in. People want to know what is coming. Over the years many different approaches to knowing the future have developed. Tera Cards, fortune telling, reading tea leaves and of course Nostradamus. He was a French astrologer, physician and reputed seer, who is best known for his book Les Propheties, a collection of 942 poetic quatrains allegedly predicting the future. The book was first published in 1555 and has been in almost constant print since. Then there is the great disappointment in the Millerite movement. A Baptist preacher William Miller predicted that Jesus Christ would return to the Earth by 1844, what he called the Advent. His study of the Daniel 8 prophecy during the Second great Awakening led him to the conclusion that Daniel’s cleansing of the sanctuary was the cleansing of the world from sin when Christ would come. Miller and many others prepared, but October 22, 1844, came and went and they were disappointed. This was the foundation for the Seventh Day Adventist Church. The test of any person predicting the future is whether or not it comes true. If not they are a false prophet, Miller would fall into that category, yet people still follow his teaching. The answer to our desire to know what is coming can be meant in the Holy Scriptures, this is the only place we can turn with confidence to find out what is coming. God has laid out for us the future events and given us just enough information to give a sense of calm and peace.
Peter is simply reminding the readers what they had already been taught about coming events. We always can benefit from some reminding from time to time.
9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance
Peter is addressing a constant argument against the Scriptures which is the fact that God has not returned.
The fact that God has not yet returned points to His long suffering and desire for more people to come to faith.
God knows how many are going to accept Him, when they will do so and when the last one comes to faith the end of the age will take place.
There is always this lingering question, if God is not willing that any should perish why doesn’t He save everyone?
The answer lies in our free will. God has given us the privilege and the responsibility of choice. If God forced us or manipulated our thoughts that would not be free will.
Romans chapter 3 states that the natural man will not seek after God, that God is not in all his thoughts. So in fact if God did not respond in the hearts of some none would ever come to faith.
This is the heart of the discussion of election and freewill, both are in Scripture but how to understand the process where both are active yet not negating each other.
I can relate to this point by my own salvation. When confronted with the opportunity to accept Jesus into my life, I remember very clearly in my head I heard you need this, I agreed and asked Jesus into my life.
People will always do what they think is best for them. The election of God comes in the form of opening my mind with the understanding I needed the gift of salvation and my freewill responds asking to receive the gift.
I see perfect harmony in this and no conflict between the two. Nothing else I have ever studied comes close to reconciling the two. You either choose one or the other, which is not the answer.
This point can be summarized by saying God is not willing that any perish, or put another way He takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked. In order to maintain freewill God must allow for men to choose to reject Him.
While it is true that God elects to intervene in the lives of some, they still freely chose to accept Him.
10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.
1. The day of the Lord is not the rapture they are two separate events.
The rapture will take place first, the Day of the Lord will take place at the end of the tribulation period.
2. Actually the Lord will return in Chapter 19 of Revelation. A series of events will take place all resulting in the cleansing of the earth by fire.
3. The battle of Armageddon will take place immediately upon Christ returning, then there will be the separation of the sheep and the goats, God will then judge the nations as to their treatment of Israel. Al of which is preparation for entering into the Kingdom period.
4. God has appointed a day when he will judge the world in righteousness, and he will keep his appointment.
5. “It is appointed to men once to die, and after this the judgment, Heb 9:27.
6. In Scripture the day of the Lord signifies the extraordinary, miraculous interventions of God in human history for the purpose of judgment, culminating in His final judgment of the wicked on earth and the destruction of the present universe.
7. The Old Testament prophets viewed the final day of the Lord as a day of unparalleled judgment, darkness, and damnation, a day in which the Lord would completely destroy His enemies, vindicate His name, reveal His glory, and establish His kingdom (Isa 2:10-21; 13:6-22; Joel 1:1-2:32; Amos 5:1; Obad 15; Zeph 1:7-18; Zech 14:1; Mal 4:1).
8. The New Testament writers also foresaw that day as an awesome and fearful event (2 Thess 2:2; cf. Matt 24:29-31). According to the book of Revelation, it will transpire in two stages: during the tribulation (Rev 6:17) and after the millennium (Rev 20:7-10). Afterward, God will establish the new heavens and earth (Rev 21:1).
11 Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness,12 Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?
1. One day—in the relatively near future—this universe will be utterly destroyed. Under the weight of God's consuming wrath, in final retribution, it will melt away in a final finery judgment by god.
2. For those who have rejected the love of God, that future judgment will be beyond anything they could have imagined.
3. For those of us who have accepted Jesus as our savior this will be a time longed for and anticipated. The old will be gone and a new world provided for the redeemed.
4. And for God Himself, it will mark His total triumph over all who oppose Him, including the final destruction of death and the complete eradication of sin (1 Cor 15:24-28).
5. Peter says we need to consider what is coming and how it should impact our behavior. This final section is Peter's exhortation to his readers to respond rightly to the Lord's return and final judgment.
6. When we think about what is coming it should have a direct impact on our lives.
7. Actually Peter is stating that Christians should be outstanding in their obedience to the Lord, knowing all of this, allowing their anticipation of Christ's return to impact their daily behavior.
13 Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwells righteousness.14 Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.
1. If believers are looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, there should be an excitement about the future.
2. Paul wrote to Titus, they will be joyfully "looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus" (Titus 2:13; cf. 2 Tim 4:8; Rev 22:20).
3. If we truly believe this we will be looking for the Lord's arrival.
4. As we see the world getting worse it should be a reminder that the end is coming and give a sense of excitment, Christians long for it, knowing they have everything to hope for and nothing to fear from the Father who loves them (1 John 4:18). Thus, like Paul, they can readily say maranatha, "Lord, come!" (1 Cor 16:22; cf. 1 John 2:28; Rev 22:20).
15 And account that the long suffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you;16 As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.
1. Peter wants his audience to be excited about the Lord’s return. The danger was they would become focused on the return and fail to take care of their everyday responsibilities.
2. This was not the time to sit down and wait, but to do what needs to be done all the time anticipating the Lord’s return.
3. God's judgment had not yet come; His wrath had not yet been poured out. There was still time to proclaim the good news to the lost.
4. Peter reminds his readers to continue in seeking to reach the lost (2 Cor 5:18-20).
5. The Lord delays His return in order to save the remainder of His elect. Actually we should accept God's patience with joy, knowing that He is daily adding to His family until it is complete.
6. When Christians anticipate the day of God, which for them will mean eternal blessing, they should also remember the day of the Lord, which for the lost will mean eternal punishment.
7. Knowing the coming judgment should motivate us to witness and seek out the lost with the message of love and forgiveness.
17 Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness.18 But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever. Amen.
1. Peter is sharing the same thoughts as Paul in his writings concerning false teachers.
2. Peter graciously spoke of his fellow apostle as our beloved brother Paul, underscoring their common life and mission. As the two foremost leaders of the early church, Peter and Paul were certainly well-aware of each other's ministry.
3. Here he appeals to Paul's inspired letters for support—reminding his readers to reject the false teachers and remember what Paul wrote to them, according to the wisdom given him. Interestingly, Peter does not specify a particular Pauline letter or letters. Instead, he gives a general endorsement for Paul's inspired writings, demonstrating the divine origin of the revelation given to Paul.
4. Peter knew that his readers would be familiar with Paul’s writings and was confident referring to them.
5. However, in Paul's writings about the day of the Lord, the return of Christ, and the glories of eternity, Peter acknowledged there are some things hard to understand, such as the rapture of the church (1 Thess 4:15-17), the coming man of sin (2 Thess 2:1-4), the return of Christ in judgment (1 Thess 5:1-11; 2 Thess 1:3-10), and the glories of heaven (2 Cor 5:1; 12:2-4). The word rendered hard to understand could be "difficult to interpret." 6. Hard but not impossible to understand was the jist of Peter’s comments.
Conclusion: Dr. George Sweeting once estimated that "more than a fourth of the Bible is predictive prophecy...Both the Old and New Testaments are full of promises about the return of Jesus Christ. Over 1800 references appear in the O.T., and seventeen O.T. books give prominence to this theme. Of the 260 chapters in the N.T., there are more than 300 references to the Lord's return one out of every 30 verses. Twenty-three of the 27 N.T. books refer to this great event...For every prophecy on the first coming of Christ, there are 8 on Christ's second coming."
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