2 Peter 2:4-10a

2 Peter 2:4-10a

(A Bible Study Led by Dr. Larry Reynolds)

May 15, 2014

                                                              

1.      There is a story about some people on an airplane that was late getting to its destination...five of the passengers had a connecting flight to catch, and their first flight was so late they missed the connection...they gathered at the ticket counter trying to work with the agent there to get them on another flight...the agent told them there was another flight to their destination leaving in about an hour and she would do very best could to get them on that flight...four of the five passengers were very understanding and cooperative, but one was not...he was belligerent and treated the agent very rudely...as he berated her for events over which she had no control and for which she was not responsible, the agent just smiled and continued treating him with the same courtesy she showed the others...at the end of his tirade the man by saying to her in a threatening way, “I specifically requested an isle seat when I made my reservation, and you had better make sure I have an isle seat on the next flight.”...the agent worked on her computer for awhile she announced to the group, “You will be glad to know that I was able to get all of you on the next flight.”...then she looked at the man who had been so difficult to deal with and said, “Sir, I am happy to tell you that I was able to get you an isle seat.”...she handed him his boarding pass and without even saying thank you he grabbed it from her hand and begin to walk away...but before he left the ticket counter area she said to the other four in a voice just loud enough for him to hear, “And I’m happy to tell you four nice people that I was able to get you seats in first class!”

2.      Like that story because reminds me of a basic life principle...and that principle is that we reap what we sow...as continue our study of 2 Peter 2 going to focus on a passage which clearly spells out that basic life principle...in our last session we saw that 2 Peter 2 is an expose of the false teachers, the counterfeit Christians, the fakes, the charlatans who have always been among God’s people...they were present in ancient Israel in the OT...they were present in the church in the NT...and they are present among God’s people today...

3.      In our last session we saw three characteristics of these false teachers or counterfeit Christians...they deceive...they deny...the destroy... v.3 ends with this statement, “...their judgement from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.”...essentially what that means is that God knows who they are, God knows what they are doing, and God is not going to give them a free pass...then, beginning in v.4 and going through the first part of v.10 is one long, complex sentence reminding us that God does not neglect the wicked or the righteous...


4.      Look at 2 Peter 2:4-10a...before read, want you to see structure of this sentence...will help you better understand what this portion of the Scripture is telling us...this is an if/then sentence...begins with a series of if clauses in vv.4-8...follows that with a then clause in vv.9-10...saying, If (or since) God has done all these things, then can count on Him to do the following.”...now with that in mind, look at 2 Peter 2:4-10a...(text)..

 

T.S. – Some time ago I had an interesting conversation with a man who had a family member who was very ill...at end of our conversation told him I would be praying for him and for his family...he response took me by surprise...in effect said, “I appreciate that, but if prayer worked we wouldn’t be in this situation.”...what he was really saying was, “Where is God in all this?  Does He know what is happening?  Is He going to respond in some way?”

 

That’s a question which has often been asked by people...when Israelites were in bondage in Egypt...when Israelites were taken into captivity to Babylon...when Jesus hung on the cross...suspect question that was being asked by the original recipients of this letter...”Does God see what is going on?  Is He aware of the false teachers and counterfeit Christians?  How is He going to respond?”...based on what Peter knew God had done in the past, he tells his readers and us that God is not asleep...God does indeed see...God will indeed respond...

 

Want direct your attention primarily to v.9...”...the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from temptation, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment for the day of judgment.”...that verse tells us two things about God of which we can be sure...two things that we can know without doubt that God will do...

 

I.       God will take care of His people

1.      “...the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from temptation...”...that statement could be the basis for an entire sermon in itself...

--”the godly” doesn’t mean super-spiritual people...that’s clear from the two examples Peter gives of people God rescued in history--Noah and Lot...those two men were far from perfect... they both had their character flaws...but they were people who ultimately trusted in God...”the godly” means people who trust their lives to God...

--”temptation” can be translated trials or testings...think that’s the meaning here...not so much temptation to sin as it is times of difficulty and trial in our lives...

--”rescue ... from” does not mean exempts us from trials...the preposition “from” does not mean that God takes trials away from us or us away from trials...idea is that in the midst of trials God rescues us...the examples Peter used of God taking care of His people make that clear...

--God didn’t exempt Noah from the flood; He saw Noah through the flood...

--God didn’t exempt Lot from living for years in silent torment over the sinfulness of Sodom...


2.      Scripture does not teach, as some would have you believe, that Christians will never suffer or face trials...but it does teach that God is faithful to walk with us through the trials...as I’ve often said to people who are going through times of trial and testing and are wondering where God is, “He is standing beside you, walking with you, loving you through the experience.”

 

II.    God will judge the unrighteous

1.      God’s judgment is not a subject people in our culture like to think about or hear about...the prevailing philosophy of our day is that God is somehow too good to be judgmental...when we get to the end of the life, He just gives everyone a free pass...it doesn’t matter—

--what your commitments are...

--how you live your life...

--whether obedient or disobedient...

God is going to treat everyone the same...

2.      In the postmodern society in which we live, the idea of judgment seems to be antiquated...the prevailing mindset is that—

--one person’s philosophy/approach to life is as good as another...

--one religion is no more true than any other religion...

all that matters is what works for you...there is no room for judgment in that kind of thinking...

3.      That may have been what the false teachers Peter describes in this chapter were saying...don’t worry about judgment...do what you want to do...do what makes you feel good...God is not going to hold you accountable...and in response to that Peter says, “Don’t fall for that kind of thinking...it is not true’...the Lord knows how to keep the unrighteous under punishment for the day of judgment...’ (v.9)...

4.      In this passage Peter reminds the people that if they are aware of the activity of God in history, they must know that God has consistently judged those who rebelled against Him...he reminds them of three specific acts of God’s judgment recorded in the book of Genesis...

--in v.4 speaks of God judging the angels who rebelled against Him...

--in v.5 speaks of God judging the world with the great flood in the days of Noah...

--in v.6 speaks of God destroying the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah because of their wickedness...

And while there is a lot of background to each of those three illustrations we could explore, the basic Peter is making is this: “If God judged the angels who rebelled against Him...if God judged the people who rebelled against Him in the days of Noah...if God judged the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah which rebelled against Him, what basis do you have to think God will not judge you when you rebel against Him?”

 

1.      If you’ll look carefully at that phrase at the end of v. 9 you’ll see Peter speaks of two kinds of judgment...there is a present judgment and there is a future judgment...


--the phrase about the unrighteous (those who live their lives apart from God...those live with no regard for God’s laws) being “under punishment” refers to a judgment in the present...most people tend to think of God’s judgment as something that, if it happens, happens way out there in the distant future at the end of time...but there is a sense in which God’s judgment is immediate...it’s built in to the world in which we live...disobedience, failure to obey God has its own built-in penalty...for example--

--if you abuse your body with tobacco, alcohol, or drugs, if you have unhealthy eating habits, if you fail to exercise, if you don’t get the right amount of rest, eventually you are going to pay the price for that kind of life-style...

There is a present judgment, a judgment we experience in this world when we rebel against God... that’s why God’s Word forbids certain things...that’s why we have the 10 commandments...God tells us not to steal...commit adultery...murder...bear false witness...covet because those things have in them their own built in judgment...they diminish our lives...they make us less than God intended...He wants us to avoid the judgment which inevitably comes with violating the basic laws of our universe...

--the phrase at the end of v.9 about “...the day of judgment” refers to judgment in the future...the Scripture is quite clear...at some point there will be a time of separation...righteous/wicked ...faithful/ unfaithful...wheat/tares...sheep/goats...children of God/children of Satan...

  1. God is not asleep and judgment will come...

                                                 CONCLUSION

  1. Read interesting thing about actor/comedian W.C. Fields this past week...obviously wasn’t a spiritual man...was in hospital nearing end of his life...friend went to hospital to visit him and found Fields reading a Bible... friend was surprised to see him reading that book and asked why he was doing so...and in typical W.C. Fields fashion he said, “I’m looking for loopholes.”

  2. When it comes to God’s judgment there are no loopholes...God is not asleep...He sees what is happening...and His judgment is sure...

 

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