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August 2, 2020
2 Peter 3:1-14
2 Peter 3:1-14
Beloved, I now write to you this second epistle (in both of which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance.”
Intro: Have you ever consider how often you have someone tell you to “remember”? How many times have you told yourself, “I need to remember this or that”? Jesus thought it was important to remember and he gave us the communion supper to do exactly that. He wanted us to remember his death burial and resurrection and the promise of his return. So we have the bread and the cup to remind us.
Back in Sweden in 1716, the story goes that King Charles XII announced to a tiny town that he was coming for a visit, and that he planned to worship at the tiny village church. Well, the pastor got so excited about the royal visit that he laid aside his usual text and delivered a eulogy on the greatness of the royal family. A few weeks later, a gift arrived for the pastor from the king. Inside was a life-size cross. Included was this note from the king: "Place this on the pillar opposite the pulpit so you will always be reminded of your proper subject."
It certainly does not take much to sidetrack our thinking. Many different methods have been tried over the years to help remember important things.
One time at the City Temple in London, there was in the congregation a restaurant owner named Emil Mettler, who was a close friend of Albert Schweitzer and a kind of agent for Schweitzer in Britain. Mettler would never allow a Christian worker to pay for a meal in his restaurant, but once he did happen to open his cash register in the presence of a secretary of the London Missionary Society. The secretary was astonished to see among the bills and coins a six-inch nail. What was it doing there? Mettler explained, "I keep this nail with my money to remind me of the price that Christ paid for my salvation and of what I owe Him in return."
Sometimes we as Christians need to stop along life's road and look back. Although it might have been winding and steep, we can see how God directed us by His faithfulness. Here's how F.E. Marsh described what the Christian can see when he looks back:
The deliverances the Lord has wrought (Deut. 5:15).
The way He has led (Deut. 8:2)
The blessings He has bestowed (Deut. 32:7-12).
The victories He has won (Deut. ll:2-7).
The encouragements He has given (Josh. 23:14).
When we face difficulties, we sometimes forget God's past faithfulness. We see only the detours and the dangerous path. But look back and you will also see the joy of victory, the challenge of the climb, and the presence of your traveling Companion who has promised never to leave you nor forsake you. Source Unknown
This is another remarkable chapter which Peter has written.
2 Peter 3:1-2, This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance. 2 that you may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us, the apostles of the Lord and Savior
Simon Peter makes it clear that he is the writer of both epistles.
“I stir up your pure minds”—“pure” is not the best translation. A better translation would be “sincere.”
Peter knew they were believers and had a proper attitude toward the prophets and the apostles, yet they still needed reminding.
Perhaps they were slipping back into their old ways before their salvation. Perhaps they simply became lukewarm in their approach to the faith.
The challenge is to control what we think. Paul tells us to think on those things which are pure and holy, focus on things above.
Our natural minds are not pure minds, and the word Peter uses means “sincere” rather than pure. He is addressing genuine believers. He is saying, “I want to stir up your sincere minds by way of remembrance.”
This is not something new he is going to talk to them about; he just wants them to think on positive spiritual things that they have been taught.
Most people think they have a good memory, but in most cases their forgetfulness is better than their memory.
Peter is speaking from experience, he had at one point denied our Lord while he was warming his hands by the enemy’s fire, he forgot all about the fact that the Lord Jesus had said that he would deny Him.
The record tells us, “And the Lord turned, and looked upon Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice” (Luke 22:61).
Peter had forgotten all about it. He had the same frailties that we have, and so he wants to stir up their (and our) sincere minds by way of remembrance.
Specifically, he wants us to remember the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour [2 Pet. 3:2].
“The holy prophets” are the Old Testament writers. “And of the commandment of us the apostles.” Notice that Simon Peter doesn’t put himself in a position of being above the other apostles.
Peter identifies himself as an apostle and goes on to mention Paul as an apostle as well.
“Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts [2 Pet. 3:3]. “Knowing this first”—Peter sees this as a priority.
“There shall come in the last days”—I believe we are in the last days of the church age.
“Scoffers” will be the apostates whom he described so vividly back in chapter 2. These scoffers evidently will be members of churches, and many of them pastors, who will be “walking after their own lusts,” their own desires, not attempting to follow the Word of God.
They will attack the Word of God with a vengeance as though it was something evil.
Paul, writing in 2 Corinthians 3, said that a veil is over their minds; but if their hearts will turn to God, the veil will be removed. Their problem is not intellectual; their problem is A WICKED heart.
Their arguments lack substance and truth. They will throw out statements that will be accepted by the uneducated and unsaved.
“Where is the promise of his coming?” this will be a common approach and seem reasonable to many people.
4 and saying, "Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation."
The New Testament writers speak of Christ’s returning “soon” or “quickly,” with the apparent expectation that he might return in the writers’ own lifetimes.
Liberals have long tried to make this a point against the Bible’s infallibility. However, the meaning of returning “soon” is that it would happen “at any moment.”
“Where is the promise of his coming?” They are going to scoff at it. The second coming of Christ will be denied—not only by the atheist, but it will also be denied by those who stand in the pulpit and profess to be believers.
Now what did the Old Testament prophets write about? They wrote about the coming of Christ to the earth to establish His kingdom.
What did the New Testament apostles write about? They wrote about Christ’s coming to take the church out of the world and then, after the Great Tribulation, about His coming to the earth to establish His kingdom.
Notice that the Old Testament prophets did not write about the church—not one of them did. They wrote only about His coming to earth to establish His kingdom.
It was the Lord Jesus Himself who first revealed that He would be coming for His own. He said, as recorded in John, “… I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself …” (John 14:2–3).
Our Lord went back to heaven, and that is where He is preparing a place for us. And He promised to come back for us. In 1 Thessalonians 4:17, we are told that we will meet Him in the air.
The prophecy in the Old Testament of Christ’s coming was to establish His kingdom upon the earth; the prophecy in the New Testament of His coming was first to take His church out of the world and then to come to establish His kingdom upon the earth
5 For this they willfully forget: that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water, 6 by which the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water. 7 But the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word, are reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.
1. “For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.” This is the “proof” which the scoffers will offer, and, by the way, it is the most prevalent argument given in our day.
2. “The fathers” would refer all the way back to father Adam. The scoffers are very short sighted and lack real knowledge of history. They contend that nothing unusual has happened in the past. Things just continue as they always have in the past.
3. However: they are wrong and any casual study of history will confirm it.
4. Peter correctly points out the historical events that they chose to ignore.
5. Peter reminds his readers of the flood and that another judgment will come by fire in the future.
For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished [2 Pet. 3:5–6].
8 But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 9 The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is long suffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.
1. In Ps 90:4 Moses stated, "For a thousand years in Your sight are like yesterday when it passes by, or as a watch in the night." Peter's paraphrase from that psalm encouraged his readers to not let this one fact escape their notice—that God's perspective on time is much different from humanity's (cf. Ps 102:12,24-27).
2. It is interesting to note the account of The creation in Exodus 10. In six literal days God created everything and then rested on the seventh.
3. Consider the possibility that this is an outline for history. It has been about six thousand years since Adam. Could it be that we are now in history approaching what would be the seventh day of rest in Exodus?
4.The Lord Jesus Christ will return at the exact moment determined by God in eternity past. Those who foolishly demand that God operate according to their time frame ignore that He is the "High and Lofty One who inhabits eternity" (Isa 57:15, NKJV).
5. Of course, those who argue that Christ will not return because He has not yet returned demonstrate the height of folly.
10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. 11 Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, 12 looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat? 13 Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.
Jimmy Stewart was one of Hollywood's most loved and most respected actors. According to all accounts, Stewart's character and integrity were byproducts of being raised by loving and honorable parents. He himself once wrote of his father's wise and loving advice to him before Jimmy went off to fight in World War II. In a letter, Alex Stewart wrote, "My dear Jim boy, Soon after you read this letter, you will be on your way to the worst sort of danger . . . I am banking on the enclosed copy of the 91st Psalm. The thing that takes the place of fear and worry is the promise of these words . . . I can say no more . . . I love you more than I can tell you. Dad." Part of the 91st Psalm reads, "For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways."
This is the proper antidote to the anxiety that many of us feel in this turbulent world in which we live. God is with us regardless of what the future may bring. What we need to do is to regain our connection with God. We need to focus less our financial resources for security and more on the Rock of ages. Read the signs of the times. They will tell you we need God more than ever before.
You can judge a man pretty well by whether—if given a choice—he would ask for a light burden or a strong back.
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