This is an exposition of 2 Peter 3:1-18. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday evening, November 5, 2017.
Are you any good at waiting? How are you at handling “delayed gratification?” I’m not good at it. I don’t handle it well at all. When I want something – I want it yesterday. When I have to wait I can get ugly. I get cynical. I moan, whine and complain.
Oh, and if I’m going somewhere I can’t stand to be late. If I’m not there 15-20 minutes early I think I’m late. I got that from my dad. When I’m waiting in the car for Rheadon…I find myself saying, “She’s never coming. We should already be on the road. I told her what time we were leaving. She’s not ready. She’s not here. We’re late!” They say confession is good for the soul but I’ve got to tell you I’m getting upset just thinking about this!
Imagine what it was like for those early followers of Jesus who just knew he was coming back any day. Who were just certain that at any moment he was coming in power and glory. With the each passing day – their hope burned a little less bright. It had now been some 30 years since he said he would be back. Some were saying he would never come. Others were suggesting that they had misunderstood everything Jesus said. They were calling for a new kind of faith. Peter wrote to that struggling bunch of believers and said, “There are some things you need to be certain about. Make sure you are a Christian. Make your calling and election sure. Examine your life for the evidence of ever increasing holiness. Mark it down, there will be false teachers. Be sober. Be on your guard. Stand against those who seek personal gain through ministry. Beware the arrogant and over confident. Stay clear of those blatantly carnal teachers of the word and rest assured God will bring his enemies to justice. God’s judgment is certain. Now there is one other certainty – our Lord is coming and when he comes there will be a reckoning.”
Our text this evening is found in the 3rd chapter of Peter’s second letter.
Text: 2 Peter 3:1-18
We said in our first study you can outline the book Holiness (1) Heresy (2) and Hope (3) or Cultivation of a genuinely Christian Character, Condemnation of False Teachers and Confidence in the Return of the Lord. Tonight we deal with that 3rd category.
In exploring this final chapter we will discover two over-arching concerns that drive, motivate and guide the Christian in living in light of the Lord’s return. I’m more convinced than ever that Bible study is to be practical. That it is not a matter of storing up knowledge for knowledge’s sake. There must be a practical working out of the truth learned. It impacts us in some practical way. This book is given to us that we might know God. It reveals God to us and gives us insight into how we are to relate to him and live in a manner pleasing to him. So, any time we study this book and we walk away failing to understand him better or how we are to live – we’ve misread it. We’ve misunderstood its message.
Doctrine must have its practical side.
And the doctrine of last things isn’t just a matter of learning to set dates.
It is not about putting a chart together so that we can know what’s going to happen out there someday that really doesn’t apply to us in anyway! Rather it is to give us hope, it is to inspire us to faithfulness, it is to motivate us in service – it is to cause us to be the people he has called us to be.
Two things I want us to note.
- Believers cling tenaciously to the promise of our Lord’s return in spite of delay and denials. (3:1-10)
- The thought of the Lord’s return motivates the believer toward holiness. (3:11-18)
Will you be at peace with God?
Peter never asks, “Do you remember the time you believed?”
His question was always, “Are you believing now?”
Be certain you are in Christ.
Be certain false teachers and false teaching abound.
Be certain he is coming and judgment comes with him.