2 Peter 3:1-2

2 Peter 3:1-2

(A Bible Study Led by Dr. Larry Reynolds)

July 3, 2014

 

 

  1. I remember reading about man who was fairly wealthy who suddenly became ill…taken to hospital and over period of couple days his conditioned worsened…doctor came in and said, “I’m afraid I have some bad news for you.  We can’t figure out what is wrong and there is a good chance you will die.”…this, of course frightened the man and he said, “Doc, I don’t want to die!  I know you’re trying to build a new hospital here, and if you pull me through this I’ll donate $100,000 to the new hospital fund.”…fortunately over the next couple of days the man began to improve and after a couple of weeks was released from the hospital… several months later the doctor ran into him and asked, “How are you feeling?”…man replied, “Great!  I’ve never felt better!”…and the doctor said, “That’s good to hear.  Now what about that $100,000 you promised to donate to the new hospital fund?”…and the man replied, “I said that!  I guess that just goes to show how sick I really was!”

  2. Some people are not very good at keeping their promises…but, of course, it is not what way with Jesus…He is 100% reliable…completely trustworthy…what He promises, He will do…and one thing He promised His followers in the NT is that the day would come when He would return to this world…He said in John 14, “…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; that where I am, there you may be also.”

  3. The NT is literally permeated with references to the return of Jesus to this world… according to one writer about 1/20th of NT speaks of His return...23 of the 27 NT books refer to it...are over 300 references to second coming Christ in Bible [Lucado, And the Angels Were Silent, p.135]

  4. 2 Peter 3 is written against the backdrop of the promise of the Lord’s return to this world…interspersed throughout this chapter are references to the Lord’s return…for example—

                --v.4 quotes those asking, “Where is the promise of His coming?”

                --v.10 says “…the day of the Lord will come like a thief…”

                --v.12 speaks of “…the coming day of God…”

                --v.14 describes Christians as looking “…for these things…” meaning the Lord’s return…

  5. For the early Christians the return of Christ to this world was not something to fear, it was something to which to look forward with great anticipation…it is described as “the blessed hope” (Titus 2:13) for which Christians are anxiously waiting…using the promise of Christ’s return as a motivator, Peter concludes the letter of 2 Peter with some words of encouragement for Christians…

  6. There is an obvious difference in tone and style between 2 Peter 2 and 2 Peter 3…as we saw that 2 Peter 2 focused on the false prophets, the counterfeit Christians infecting the early church…in that chapter Peter is harsh, blunt, and to the point…however, chapter 3 is directed toward believers…it is much softer, much more conciliatory in tone…four times in this chapter Peter addresses his readers with a word the NASB translates “beloved”…you’ll find that word in v.1, v.8, v.14, and v.17…some Bibles translate the word “dear friends” others translate it “beloved brothers”…the root of the word is agape which is the highest, most noble kind of love…it is a term of endearment designed to snag the attention of the readers…

  7. And each time Peter uses the word “beloved” he gives his readers some important instructions in light of Christ’s return…for example in vv.____ tells us to--…

    v. 1-2     Be informed in preparation the Lord’s return

    v. 3-13  - Be alert in anticipating the Lord’s return

    v.14-16 – Be diligent in preparing for the Lord’s return

    v.17-18 – Be on guard to persevere until the Lord returns

We’re going to explore each of those ideas in the weeks ahead…in this session want to direct your attention to 2 Peter 3:1-2…(text)

 

T.S. – Will Rogers, the famous philosopher/humorist, once said, “Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects.” [Wiersbe, Be Alert, p.76] …Peter says at the outset of this chapter that in light of the fact the Lord is going to return to this world, he does not want his readers to be ignorant…and to avoid being spiritually ignorant, we must do two things…

 

I.  We must “stir up our minds” (v.1)

1.  Begins chapter 3 by reminding his readers he was writing them for the purpose of “…stirring up your sincere mind…”

                  --we come across the verb translated “stirring up” earlier in our study of 2 Peter…the same word is used in 1:13…told you the word means to arouse, to awaken, to bring to life…what is it Peter desires to awaken in us?…

            --he wants to arouse or awaken a “sincere mind” in us…that little phrase could be basis for an study in itself…the word translated “sincere” means pure or uncontaminated…it is a compound word… first part of word comes from word which means “sun ray” and second part comes from word which means “to judge”… literally it means “sun-judged”…was used to describe process of holding piece of pottery up to light of the sun to see if there were any flaws are cracks in it… [LABC, p.206]

2.  And what Peter is saying here is that in light of the fact that Jesus is going to return we need to think right…our thinking needs to be able to stand the scrutiny of the light of God…all kinds of implications in that for our lives…

3.  Obviously means our thinking should be pure…one writer translates the phrase “sincere mind” as “wholesome mind” [Brian’s Lines, J/F, 1998, p.16] …we live in world which does not lend itself to wholesome thinking…the proliferation of pornography in our nation has become epidemic…Came across an interesting quote this week from Beth Moore, the well-known Bible teacher from Houston…she wrote: "We can now sit in our Beaver Cleaver homes with our white picket fences and open the attic door of pornography through the Internet. ... The rate of Christians being snared daily is staggering...

4.  Thinking right obviously means Christians should avoid the lure of such things…but it also means that we should avoid succumbing to the prevailing secular wisdom of our day…wisdom which includes such popular ideas as:

·         There is no such thing as absolute right and wrong.  What one person may see as wrong, another person may legitimately view as right.  As long as you feel good about what you do, that’s all that matters.

·         Religion is good only if it doesn’t make people feel guilty or bad about themselves.  Religion that calls for personal responsibility and sacrifice is out of date and hurtful to people.  Religion that speaks of sin and the need for forgiveness is medieval.

·         The worst sin of all is to be intolerant of someone else.  No-one has the right to question anyone’s life-style.  All life-styles are morally the same.  Such things are just a matter of personal choice.

5.  Those are the kinds of things with which we are constantly bombarded in our culture…they are woven into popular music, television shows, movies, and even the daily newspaper. 

 

T.S. - And Peter tells us here that in light of the fact Jesus is coming back to our world, we must think more clearly than that…we must have “sincere minds” – minds that are pure and wholesome and minds that can stand the scrutiny, the light of His coming…now how do we develop such minds?… the answer to that question is in v.2…

 

II.  We must focus on God’s Word

1.  Look at what v.2 says…“…you should remember the words spoken beforehand by the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior spoken by your apostles.”…if look carefully at that statement can see a reference to the OT and the NT...

            --“…the words spoken beforehand by the holy prophets…” refers to God’s Word in the OT…

            --“…the commandment of the Lord and Savior spoken by your apostles…” refers to God’s Word in the NT which was still being formed when Peter wrote this letter…

2.  The instruction in v.2 is that we are to “…remember the words…” of the Scripture…thought struck me this week that we cannot remember what we don’t already know…and truth is many Christians are ignorant of the Scripture…even some of the people who have made it their passion to defend the Bible, to fight over the Bible, to argue about the Bible have not made a serious effort to understand and apply God’s Word to their lives…

3.  Focusing on God’s Word, taking the Bible seriously means much more than merely waving the Bible and saying I believe this book because it is God’s Word…(several years ago went to drove some distance to hear a nationally famous preacher…and must confess that was very disappointed in what I heard that night…was sitting behind and above the podium so had clear view of what was happening…this man walked podium carrying large Bible…place Bible closed on top of podium and began his sermon…for 30 minutes mocked and fumed and degraded those people who differed with him over biblical interpretation…but the thing which struck me as strange is not one time did he open the Bible and not one time did he quote from the Bible…)

4.  And what I want to say to you today is that focusing on God’s word means more than just talking about the Bible…it means to read it regularly, to meditate on it, to study it carefully and prayerfully, to allow the Spirit of God penetrate and change our lives with its truths…doing as Colossians 3:16 instructs us:  “Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you…”

Conclusion

1.      Will Rogers was right…“Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects.” [Wiersbe, Be Alert, p.76]…but in light of the fact that Jesus is coming back to this world whether it is in our life-times or beyond… and in light of the certainty that we will all one day stand before Him, Christians cannot afford to be ignorant of God’s Word…

2.      Simon Peter’s challenge to us is that we “…stir up our minds by the words of the prophets and the apostles…” found in this book!

 

 

 

 

 

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