Share This Episode
Insight for Living Chuck Swindoll Logo

How to Live in Troubled Times, Part 2

Insight for Living / Chuck Swindoll
The Truth Network Radio
August 15, 2023 7:05 am

How to Live in Troubled Times, Part 2

Insight for Living / Chuck Swindoll

On-Demand Podcasts NEW!

This broadcaster has 856 podcast archives available on-demand.

Broadcaster's Links

Keep up-to-date with this broadcaster on social media and their website.

August 15, 2023 7:05 am

Conquering Through Conflict


When we're driving on the highway or on the roads through town, we're accustomed to watching for traffic signals, warning signs, and flashing lights. In like fashion, we should become adept at spotting spiritual warning signs.

Today, on Insight for Living, Chuck Swindoll continues to present his final message in the series called Conquering Through Conflict. In this study in 2 Peter chapter 3, we read practical advice from the apostle on how to live in troubled times. It includes several warnings to be on guard because trouble is coming.

Now, when you get to 2 Peter, even though it is shorter in length, it is more difficult to understand. And this is not a letter that offers a great deal of hope for the hurting. This is a letter that points a long index finger and bumps against your sternum and says beware. Be on the lookout. Watch out. Trouble is coming. Be ready. The theme of 2 Peter is beware. Be ready. Hard times are upon you. This is a letter of continued warnings.

In fact, I thought about this. In the first letter, Peter represents a pastor, a caring shepherd, and he brings comfort and encouragement. But in the second letter, he takes the role of a critic and a prophet.

And he warns and predicts. In the first letter, there is an emphasis on helping people. In the second letter, there is an emphasis on exposing the conditions in which we live.

In the second letter, there is an emphasis on the exposing of moral corruption. And he says all the way through the chapter, beware. Beware. It's bad now. It's going to get worse. Cheer up.

So you cheer up and things get worse. That's 2 Peter chapter 1. It's exactly what he said would happen. Chapter 2, false teachers. And you remember when we worked our way through these tough words and difficult descriptions of times in which we are now living.

Not when we will live, but we're now living. And he says be ready. Be discerning. Don't fall into their traps. They're clever. They've been at it for centuries. They've been on the earth since Christ was on the earth. Beware.

Be ready. In chapter 3, which we find ourselves now, he emphasizes the scoffers and the mockers. He even mentions those. Verse 3 of chapter 3, know this that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following their own lusts and saying, now where is the promise of his coming? Things continue on like they have continued ever since the beginning of time. Wrong says the apostle. They forget about the flood. And if God intervened and brought a destructive watery grave to all those who were not in the ark, he can do the same again. Indeed he will. But next time when he comes, he will come in fire, not with water.

And with that in mind, he even goes into the subject of the passing of this earth into a ball of smoke and fire. Verse 8, chapter 3, don't let this one fact escape your notice that with the Lord, one day is as a thousand years and vice versa. The Lord is not slow about his promise as some count slowness but is patient toward you.

Why? Because he is patient, because he doesn't wish for any to perish. And every day he delays his coming, every era he waits for his arrival, he is giving people further opportunity to believe. Not wishing that any should perish and how patiently he waits and waits. I think 2 Peter is saying, tough times call for strong minded saints. Don't let any of this catch you unawares and don't miss an opportunity to take advantage of the Lord's patience.

Now, this little section we're looking at is the last paragraph of his second and his final statement, his final letter. Let me read the verses for you. 2 Peter 3, 14 to 18. Therefore, beloved, since you look for these things, be diligent to be found by him in peace, spotless and blameless. And regard the patience of our Lord to be salvation. Just as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him, wrote to you. As also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things in which are some things hard to understand.

Which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the scriptures to their own destruction. You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard lest you fall from your own steadfastness. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity.

Amen. First off, to whom is this written? Well, if I were sitting at my kitchen table and I were looking at this passage for the first time to make a study of these verses, and I were trying to answer the question to whom is it written, I would probably find the repeated references that are woven through this chapter. For example, chapter 3 verse 10. He is writing to, chapter 1 verse 10, excuse me, he is writing to brethren. Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent. Chapter 3, now verse 1. This is now, beloved, the second letter I am writing. Chapter 3 verse 8.

Do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved. He says again. And again verse 11 and 12. Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness? So he is writing to people who ought to be holy in conduct and godliness. Verse 14, he says it again, therefore, beloved. Verse 17, therefore, beloved, I mean, it sounds like a broken record. Over and over, brethren, beloved, beloved, beloved.

Now, you answer. To whom is he writing? He is writing to Christians. This is a letter for Christians. This is not a letter for the non-Christian. This is not a great letter to ask your non-Christian friend to read. I mean, it won't hurt him, but it's not written to the non-Christian. It's written to the Christian about the non-Christian. So, if your non-Christian friend is really interested in future things, and if he's not at all interested in spiritual things, and you'd like to scare the pants off of him, you could say, read 2 Peter, because that is where you're going. That is what you have to face, and you can look forward to that, and then when you get to chapter 3, verse 9, take that personally, and put your name in the place of any and all. God is not willing or wishing that, and put your name there. But he is desirous of you coming to repentance. But this is really a letter for the Christian. Second, what is his advice to us in this last paragraph?

Well, again, you can answer that. If I were sitting alone, doing my own study, I would look for the commands, the verbs. Those are the words of action.

So, if you've got your pencil handy, I'll show those words to you. Verse 14, Beloved, since you look for these things, there's the first command. Be diligent.

Now, I've marked that in my Bible. Be diligent. Verse 15 is another command. Regard the patience of our Lord to be salvation. So, I've used the words, be confident.

Be confident. Verse 17 is another command. You, therefore, Beloved, knowing this beforehand, there's a third command. Be on your guard. I'll say a word about that in a minute.

It's a military word. And finally, the command, verse 18, very familiar verse, grow. Be diligent, be confident, be on guard, grow. Let's take them in that order. And that's exactly what we do when we're studying literature, or when we're reading a newspaper column, or when we're just enjoying a book, a novel, or whatever. We take it just section by section, line by line.

And here's an example. Therefore, he's wrapping up his thoughts with that word, Beloved, since you look for these things, what things? The things we just read about. The ending of things, the judgment that is yet to come, when the Lord will return like a thief and the heavens and the earth will pass away. Since you look for these things, this is what you do in the meantime. Be diligent to be found by him in peace, spotless, and blameless. The command means to do your best.

That's really what it means. To do your best, to take care. Instead of squirming in panic and uneasiness, instead of continually staring at the sky to watch for his coming, don't do that. Do your very best to live your life found by him in peace, spotless, and blameless. The word spotless means free from censure.

It means irreproachable. Do your best to live free from the censure of people who are watching your life, and secondly, to be found without fault as much as is possible. Do your best. We would say to our kids, live a clean life, or to younger kids, behave yourself. That's the Lord's command for people waiting for the Savior's arrival, waiting for final judgment.

Be diligent to behave yourself. Now second, be confident, verses 15 and 16. Here are the scoffers and the mockers saying, the Lord's coming will never take place.

He isn't coming at all. Not so, says the apostle. His delay is really an expression of his compassion and mercy.

It gives more an opportunity to believe. Now, verse 15, regard the patience of our Lord, salvation. Then he inserts something that is so rare, I cannot find another reference in all the New Testament to a statement like this. One writer refers to another apostle's writings.

It's very, very rare. He says, regard the patience of our Lord to be salvation. Just as our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him, wrote to you. As also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the scriptures to their own destruction. This is very intriguing to serious Bible students. Isn't it interesting how we can live on the same planet, in fact, in the same nation, as another denomination and operate in a completely different realm. For example, when you step out of the realm of the evangelical free church, and you step into the realm of the Southern Baptist, you step into a world that is in many ways unfamiliar. If you are so locked into one denomination. The Southern Baptists have their own great churches, they have their own pastors, they have their own authors, they have their publishing firms, they have things that are going on that you, in an evangelical free church setting, are not even aware of.

Now if you travel a little, you are in touch with these people. And they are very well known among the Southern Baptists. Now if you move from that realm to the realm of the Lutherans or the Presbyterians, let's say, you have another realm of activity or a world of scholarship.

They have their own schools, they have their teachings, they have their churches, and they have their prominent teachers who are being used of God to communicate the gospel. But if you don't move into that realm, you wouldn't know about them. Now the reason I take that little excursion is because it's easy to see one writer operating as an exclusive origin of truth. But this little reference here is encouraging to me. Here is one man who acknowledges the benefits of another man's writings. I'm impressed with that. Thanks, Peter.

That's a great idea. And thanks, Spirit of God, for prompting him to do this. Now this little reference to Paul tells us three very helpful things. Now put your thinking cap on. Remember how your teachers used to say that?

Put your thinking caps on because this isn't entertainment time. This is learning time in the Scriptures. Three things I learned from Peter about Paul. First, this tells me that Paul's letters had already begun to be distributed among the churches. So Peter is writing after some of the letters of Paul have been written. Otherwise, he couldn't say what he does about Paul, our beloved brother, who in his letters spoke of some things. So first, we learn Paul's letters are already beginning to be distributed among the churches. Second, and much more importantly, Paul's letters are regarded as Scripture.

Did you miss that or did you get it? Let me read the verses again. Just as our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him, wrote to you, as also in all his letters, speaking in them of things in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures.

Ah, it's one of those aha moments when you're studying. The rest of the Scriptures, grafe, same word Paul uses in 2 Timothy 3.16, all Scripture is God-breathed and is profitable. The very same word is used here of Paul's writings. So as Paul would write of all Scripture, and technically it has reference to all the Old Testament Scriptures, now Peter refers to Paul's writings as grafe, and so they are in the category of inspired grafe, inspired writings, written under the inspiration of the Spirit of God. Third, I notice from this reference to Paul, some of the things he wrote are hard to understand, and that gives me great peace. Ah, I think, wonderful, Peter had trouble with them, it's no problem if I have trouble with them.

That's great. Now that can have a positive effect, it can also have a negative effect. The positive effect is that these writings of Paul make you think, they make you dig. I think of some sections out of Romans, especially Romans. Some sections in the Thessalonian letters, some of those sections in the great mysteries of Ephesians, they make you think, they make you dig.

And serious students of the New Testament love the writings of Paul because they make you dig down deeply and think hard. The apostle says, as a matter of fact, they are, some of those things are hard to understand. They can also have a negative effect, because some people can distort them, and in fact do. Distort them. See that word distort, verse 16, which the untaught and unstable distort. It's a graphic term, it means originally to twist. Get this, when it's used in the noun form, it is an instrument of torture. In ancient days, the word was used as a verb to put someone on the rack, and to twist and stretch and dislocate and torture them as the body is literally pulled apart, twisted to the point of breaking bones and damaging the ligaments and the joints.

Now, that's the vivid word used for distortion. G.K. Chesterton once put it this way, that orthodoxy was like walking along a narrow ridge, almost like a knife edge. One step either side was a step to disaster. Jesus is God and man, he's love and he's holiness, he's grace and truth. We are to be people of great discipline and yet great freedom in grace. Overstress either side of these great truths, and at once, destructive heresies emerge.

Isn't that the truth? That is why for years I have emphasized the great word balance. Keep balanced. The importance of prayer, but also the importance of work and witnessing. The benefits of Bible study, but also the delight of sharing what you learn. It's the difference between the great sea of Galilee and the dead sea.

One flows into and out of and the other is simply stagnant like a massive lagoon. It's just all intake. But there's more here. I think the application is that we are to pay close attention to the way scripture is used by those who teach it. Look again at this verse and I don't want to read anything into it that's not there, but I think you'll agree there's a warning written between these lines. As also in all his letters speaking in them of these things in which some things are hard to understand, which the untaught and the unstable distort.

Just as they do the rest of the scriptures to their own destruction. Many of you are engaged in Bible studies. Some of you follow the teachings of various teachers and I in fact encourage that. With the encouragement I also warn you.

It is very easy to fall under the spell of someone with charisma and knowledge and a style that is attractive and winsome and because great groups follow those people or that individual, you just get in line and become a part of the fan club. Wait a minute. Pause and take a good look at what is being taught. Keep your Bible open and keep your mind in gear and what you hear, filter it through the scriptures. Don't let your experience or your emotions or your glands be your guide. Let the book be your guide. Don't be that impressed with any personality so that no matter what you buy it. Keep thinking. Stay like the Bereans who continually came back and compared what the apostle taught them with what God's word says.

Just as the Bereans did. Well, I'll remind you that Insight for Living provides a tool that will accelerate your personal time in the Bible. I'm referring to the free online study notes we call Searching the Scriptures Studies. To dig deeper into 2 Peter on your own, go to slash studies. Well, this is the perfect day to order the audio recordings for this series on 2 Peter. The complete set is in stock and ready right now.

It's called Conquering Through Conflict and you can purchase it online at slash store or by calling us. If you're listening in the United States, call 800-772-8888. Well, finally, we want to say thanks to all those who have given generously over these past few months. Your contributions are truly making a difference. In fact, in recent days, we've received hundreds of comments from all around the world.

For instance, listen to this comment from Bangalore, India. It said, Dr. Chuck, for the past 35 years, since the time God called me into ministry, your teaching has been a real blessing. I have more than 50 of your study guides and books, which are a great help in my walk with God and teaching. You know, when we started broadcasting in 1979, we never dreamed that God would allow us to reach places such as India. And now think of the multiplying impact as this man teaches God's word to his congregation. These moments are made possible through the voluntary support of friends like you. So as God prompts you to join the team and financially give to this nonprofit ministry, we invite you to call us.

If you're listening in the United States, call 800-772-8888, or you can give online when you go to You've enjoyed hearing Chuck Swindoll's message on the Insight for Living broadcast. And now you can study the Bible alongside Chuck using the same outline he uses. Based on the principles in Chuck's book called Searching the Scriptures, each program is paired with an online resource called Searching the Scriptures Studies.

They're absolutely free, and you can use them online or download the PDF files and print them out. In fact, make copies for your small group if you wish. Each study will guide you through the biblical text of the current broadcast, show you how to glean profound truths from God's word, help you understand, apply, and communicate God's word, and give you simple Bible study steps anyone can follow. Chuck's goal is to help you experience the joy of searching the scriptures on your own. He says it's like preparing a good meal and then sitting at the banquet table of God's word.

So, what are you waiting for? Access the free materials at slash studies. Again, that's slash studies. I'm Bill Meyer, inviting you to join us again next time when Chuck Swindoll concludes our study on Conquering Through Conflict on Insight for Living. The preceding message, How to Live in Troubled Times, was copyrighted in 1990 and 2011, and the sound recording was copyrighted in 2011 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights are reserved worldwide. Duplication of copyrighted material for commercial use is strictly prohibited.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-08-14 15:04:30 / 2023-08-14 15:13:17 / 9

Get The Truth Mobile App and Listen to your Favorite Station Anytime