Living with Assurance

Living with Assurance

Living with Assurance

2 Peter 3:1-18

Assurance is hard to come by. We hope the economy will get better, but there is no guarantee. We hope for good health, but sickness comes. We hope our relationships will be strong, but many time we struggle and hurt those we care about. Some of the things we hope for either don’t happen or don’t happen on our time schedule. When Jesus was talking to His disciples about the hard times they would experience when He would be betrayed, falsely convicted, and killed on a cross He said, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16: 33) Jesus is our source of peace and hope. Peter was there when Jesus said those words. Now at the end of 2 Peter, he is writing as “reminders to stimulate you to wholesome thinking” and to remind them what the Word of God says (2 Peter 3:1-2). By searching and studying the Word of God, we can live with assurance that God is in control and hold the future in His hand.

Peter warns the reader that there will be “scoffers” in the last days. Scoffers are individuals who show contempt for the Word of God and the people of God. During the time of the writing of 2 Peter, these scoffers challenged the second coming of Jesus saying, “Where is this coming he promised?” (2 Peter 3:4) Peter is continuing to defend the faith and the Word of God and offers the answer to this question. He reminds the reader that God created the Heavens and Earth. He is in control of creation and sets the timeline of history by His pleasure and plan. Peter describes how this creation is being reserved for a day of judgment and will see the destruction of ungodly men.

These scoffers question God’s timing and the validity of the claim that Christ will come again. The way we experience time is different than the way God experiences time. Peter writes, “But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.” (2 Peter 3:8) This verse is sometimes used to interpret the length of days of the creation account in Genesis. In the context of this passage, Peter is not explaining the length of creation, but how God is above time. We live in the confinement of time, but God does not.

Peter then writes, “The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9) Once Jesus comes again, the opportunity for people to repent of their sins and place their faith in Him will be over. For this reason, Peter writes about God’s patience with those who don’t know Him. Believers in Christ live to share the Gospel with a lost and dying world while looking forward to His coming.

Peter describes the “Day of the Lord.” New Testament writers used the term “Day of the Lord” to point to Christ’s final victory and the final judgment of sinners. (Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary) Pastor Hank will be describing this day during his series through the book of Revelation.

Since this day of judgment is coming, Peter describes the kind of people we should be when he asks the question, “Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be?” (2 Peter 3:11)

Peter answers this question:
Believers ought:

  • To live holy and godly lives. 2 Peter 3:11
  • Look forward to the day of God. 2 Peter 3:12, 14
  • Speed his coming by sharing the Gospel with all nations. 2 Peter 3:12
  • Make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with Him. 2 Peter 3:14
  • Be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of lawless men. 2 Peter 3:17
  • Grow in grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 2 Peter 3:18

Peter’s love for the church is evident as he writes to “stimulate” the church to wholesome thinking and action. Relying on the Word of God leads to assurance that God is in control. His is neither early nor late. He is perfectly on time and His purposes and His people will endure whatever future holds.

Living with Troublemakers by Standing on the Truth

Living with Troublemakers by Standing on the Truth

Living with Troublemakers by Standing on the Word of God

2 Peter 2: 1-22

Since the church began, there have been false teachers who would corrupt the church and the truth found in God’s Word. God’s Word is the standard by which one can confirm or reject the validity of spiritual teaching. Eternity for unbelievers and victorious living for believers hangs in the balance when truth is challenged by false teaching. The Apostle Peter wrote a strong rebuke to false teachers in 2 Peter chapter 2. He identifies the presence of false teachers, the content of their teaching, and describes the judgment that will come on them.

Peter starts this chapter by writing, “But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you” (2 Peter 2:1) He lets the reader know that false teachers exist and that the reader should beware. These teachers “secretly introduce destructive heresies”, and many will follow them and their teaching. Peter is issuing this strong warning to protect the reader from being captivated by these false teachers. The twisted truth of these false teachers is like a disease to the body. When false teaching is discovered, every means necessary must be taken to eliminate it so the body can return to health.

Throughout 2 Peter 3, Peter describes the content of the false teaching of his day.

False Teachers:

  • Deny the Sovereign Lord v. 1
  • Bring the truth into disrepute v. 2
  • Make up stories that exploit people v. 3
  • Follow the corrupt desire of the sinful nature v. 10
  • Despise authority v. 10
  • Slander celestial beings v. 10
  • Blaspheme in matters they do not understand v. 12
  • Carouse in broad daylight v. 13
  • Have eyes full of adultery v. 14
  • Seduce the unstable v. 14
  • Are experts in greed v. 14
  • Have left the straightway v. 15
  • Appeal to lustful desires v. 18
  • Promise freedom while they are enslaved by sin v. 19

This list from 2 Peter 1-20 demonstrates the condemning words that Peter used to describe these false teachers. Any teaching that is described by this list is false and should be rejected. The most powerful weapon against false teaching is the Word of God. It is central in determining truth and conduct.

Peter also describes the judgment that awaits false teachers. He writes, “Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping.” (2 Peter 2) Peter begins by giving Biblical examples of God’s judgment for false teaching and apostasy (2 Peter 2: 4-9) This passage describes how God judged the angels who sinned and rebelled against Him (2 Peter 2:4), the ancient world with the flood in Noah’s day (2 Peter 2: 5) and the city of Sodom and Gomorrah (2 Peter 2: 6-9). Peter also demonstrates how God is able to save the godly from these judgments when he writes, “if this is so, then the Lord knows how to rescue godly men from trials and to hold the unrighteous for the day of judgment, while continuing their punishment.” (2 Peter 2:9) God protects the godly, those who live according to His Word, while He judges the false, ungodly teacher.

Anyone who would endeavor to teach the Word of God and to lead people spiritually should pay close attention to 2 Peter 2. Consider the commitments a teacher of truth must make:

  • The Bible is God’s gift to the world and the source of truth
  • The Bible was written by men who were inspired by the Holy Spirit
  • The Bible is the inerrant Word of God
  • The Bible is the infallible Word of God
  • The Bible describes how one can know God and live for Him.
  • The Bible has God for its author, salvation for its end, and truth, without any mixture of error, for its matter. (Baptist Faith and Message)
  • The Bible is the source of Christian truth and teaching

A teacher who makes these commitments about the Word of God need not fear the judgment of false teachers. A teacher who stays close to the Word of God can confidently proclaim and teach truths found there in. Paul wrote these words to Timothy, “You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others.” (2 Timothy 2: 1-2)

Living with Truth

Living with Truth

Living with Truth

2 Peter 1

Ever since the birth of the Church it has been under attack. Never in the history of the world has an institution been attacked more and yet survived and sometimes thrived. Even in our American culture Christianity and the Church are attacked with false prophets and twisted versions of truth. Where does a believer in Jesus Christ turn for answers for life and the church? God has given us the Word of God as our standard and source of truth. Many of the same battles we fight today for truth were present in the early church and addressed by the Apostles.

2 Peter is a letter to the early church written by the Apostle Peter.  In this letter, Peter describes some twisted versions of Christian truth that were being taught and straightens things out. It is important to have a proper understanding of Christian truth because it is out of our beliefs that we live our lives.

Peter begin this second letter by identifying himself and the recipients by writing: “To those who through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ have received a faith as precious as ours.” (2 Peter 1:1) This letter was written to the church, those who have placed their faith in Jesus Christ. The church today can learn a great deal from 2 Peter.

Peter then describes how a believer can have confidence in their calling and election. In verse 3 Peter encourages the reader when he writes, “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness.” As believers in Jesus Christ we lack nothing that we need to live lives that honor God. We even participate in the “divine nature and escape the corruption in this world.” (2 Peter 1:4)

Peter then encourages the reader to make every effort to add to their faith virtues that demonstrate that they belong to Christ:

For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge;
and to knowledge, self-control;
and to self-control, perseverance;
and to perseverance, godliness;
and to godliness, mutual affection;
and to mutual affection, love. (2 Peter 1:5-7)

A person that has these virtues present in their life can claim the promise in verse 8 that says, “For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” This promise encourages believers to continue to grow in their faith and to live a life that honors God which lead to a productive effective faith.

Taking a personal inventory using this character traits can help identify areas of your life where there is growth and areas that need to be changed.

The second part of chapter 1 describes the source of prophecy that is found in the Scripture. Peter summarizes this passage in verses 20-21, “Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation. For prophecy never has its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” This creates the foundation for refuting the false teachers that are addressed in chapter 2.

The Bible is the inspired, inerrant Word of God. It was the source of truth for the early church and it is our source of truth today. “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of Him who called us by his own glory and goodness.” (2 Peter 1:3) “And we have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the mourning star rises in your hearts.” (2 Peter 1:19)