2 Peter, looking at chapter 3, we'll begin reading in verse 8 through verse 13. 2 Peter 3, beginning at verse 8. 2 Peter 3, beginning at verse 8 through 13.
Let's pray. Lord, how grateful we are for the love you have given us in coming to die in our place, to live a life of perfect obedience that we might be clothed in righteousness, fitted to stand before your presence. Father, how great is your love for us.
You've called us your children. And Holy Spirit, you are constantly at work bringing the power of God into our lives to mold and shape and conform us. We thank you for your presence with us even now. We ask that you would teach us and direct our thoughts.
Guard my lips. May Christ be exalted. May we be built up in the faith.
I pray in Jesus' name. Amen. Have you ever said, I just don't have the time? We often use that as an excuse for not doing things that we probably should do, but the reality is that none of us knows how much time we have. It could be a moment.
It could be years. We just don't know. Those things are in God's hands. We need to be reminded of what James says when he says, what is your life?
A mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. I heard one preacher said, if you want to know what your life is really like, just go to the bathroom, blow on the mirror, and watch it disappear. Our life is fragile and short. We should pray like the psalmist, so teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom. God has purpose for time, though he created it in the beginning. Life as we know it is ordered by time. We live in cycles and seasons of life, and we talk about a biological clock. From the very beginning, this idea of time and cycle and the movement of time is expressed in Genesis 1 when it says evening and morning, evening and morning, again and again. Even before the earth and the sun were in place and there was no rotation of the earth, it says evening and morning, the first day. Evening and morning, the second day. Evening and morning, the third day. But although we have these cycles, time as God has ordained it and created it is not cyclical.
It's not just over and over repetition. There is a direction and a destination in time. Even that first week of creation was headed toward the Sabbath, the day of rest, a day that would be set apart by God as holy. History really is his story, and we and all of creation are waiting for the end of the story. Paul writes to the Romans, not only the creation, but we ourselves who have the first fruits of the Spirit, grown inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons waiting for the redemption of our bodies.
We are headed toward an end, and God has designed it. And so as we begin to look at our text tonight, I want to just first quickly walk through and look at some of the key words and phrases, ideas. First of all, in verse eight, he says, do not overlook this one fact.
This one fact. Peter wants to call attention to one thing, and it seems like as you read this, he's calling attention to several things. He talks about how God relates to time, the apparent delay in the coming of judgment, the certainty of that day. But he uses a couple of key words, I think, that help us to understand what he's pointing at here. He uses the word overlook and fact. He's already used that back in the earlier in the chapter when he talked about the fact that the scoffers overlook a fact.
They deliberately overlook the fact that judgment is certain and coming. Peter uses these same words then in giving a warning. And this warning is not so much to scoffers and unbelievers as it is to the elect, to those of us who believe. He says in verse eight, but do not overlook this one fact, beloved. He's talking to the believers there. And then down in verse 10, he says the day of the Lord will come.
I think that's the focus that he's making in this section of chapter three. Peter wants us to be sure that we don't overlook the fact that even though from our perspective, it may seem delayed and that God tarries, it will come. In verse nine, then he talks about the fact of tarrying, delaying. He says the Lord is not slow.
That word is a word that means to delay or to tarry. He is not slow, Peter says, but he is patient toward you. God's patience is primarily toward the elect, toward his people. But at the same time, it makes the rejection of unbelievers that much more egregious because he gives so much kindness and patience and time. The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. This idea of God wishing that none would perish, but that all would reach repentance has nothing to do with universalism or God desiring the salvation of all and not being able to do it. We need to learn to distinguish here between God's desire and his decree. God desires and longs for all to come to him, and yet he has not decreed salvation for all. He doesn't take pleasure in the fact that many will not. In fact, all the way back in the Old Testament in Ezekiel 33, we read, as I live, declares the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn back from your evil ways, for why will you die? God requires, though, repentance and turning from sin, and all are called to repentance.
Truth is, many reject the opportunity that they're given. They're unwilling to turn to God, and they run from him instead, even in the face of his long suffering and patience and kindness. There's several illustrations of this throughout scripture.
Just let me mention a few. You think all the way back in the early days of the earth when Cain killed his brother. And God comes and pleads with him, and God says, if you do well, will you not be accepted? He patiently pled with him and gave him a mark to protect him, but Cain rejected that opportunity of God's mercy and patience with him.
And verse 16 of chapter 4 says, he went away from the presence of the Lord, departed from the presence of the Lord. Esau is another example of one who had a measure of repentance, but for the wrong reasons. Esau, Hebrews tells us, sold his birthright for a single meal, and afterward he desired to inherit the blessing, it says, but he was rejected because he found no chance to repent, though he sought it with tears. What was it he was seeking? He was seeking the blessing, and he wasn't seeking the face of God. This persistent, stubborn rejection of God's call to repentance is portrayed again in Revelation.
We read there that a third of mankind was killed by plagues, and the scripture says the rest of mankind who were not killed by these plagues did not repent. God is divinely patient, and judgment will come. And so as we continue looking through this passage, we come to verse 10, and it declares that the day of the Lord will come. It'll come like a thief. It will be unexpected.
We talked some about this last week as we looked at the first part of this chapter. It'll come unexpectedly, come with a loud roar. That word that is translated roar in the ESV there is a word that means a loud whirring sound, like something spinning around. And there'll be this loud roar, and everything's going to be burned up and dissolved. The word there, dissolved, is a word that means to loosen, to break up.
It's like it's all flying apart. And it also has the idea of melt. In fact, later on, it says that when the heavens are dissolved, they will burn up, and they're burned up, and they will melt. The heavenly bodies, he says here in verse 10, that the heavenly bodies will be burned up. And some of you may have translation that says elements.
That's the literal meaning of the word there. There's been some speculation as to exactly what is implied there with the heavenly bodies, elements. The ESV apparently thinks of it in terms of the sun, moon, stars, those kinds of things.
And some translations have that. They point directly to those heavenly bodies as the elements that he's speaking of here. But apparently there's some distinction in what he's saying there from the earth that he speaks of later on in that phrase. And then he says that the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed, found.
Other manuscripts here have the idea of being burned up. But we want to look at this passage and think a little further now in terms of what does this say to me? What does this mean to me? How am I to live in light of what is certainly coming in the judgment of God and the coming day of the Lord? So as I walk through this passage, the first thing I see is that God transcends time. He created time, but he's not part of it. A thousand years is like a day.
A day like a thousand years. He's not restricted in the way we are, not a part of time in the way that we are. Prior to the creation of the sun, the moon, the stars, and even the rotation of the earth, he speaks of evening and morning, evening and morning.
That cycle of time begins. It's something he created for us. When you look at verse eight there, he says that the passing of time is not something that affects God like it does us. He has a whole different perspective because he's not in time the way we are. He is eternal. He's outside of time. We live in the present, but God dwells in eternity. The beginning, the end, and everything in between are all present to him.
He is eternal. He's not off time and yet he is involved in time. He didn't just start at the clock and leave it. That's the deism idea, you know, that God just kind of set it in motion and let it run. But God is involved directly in time.
Think of the many times that he has intervened. After the fall in the Garden of Eden, God came and promised that the seed of woman would crush the head of the serpent. In the wilderness, he called Moses and sent him to deliver Israel, showing his power through miracles and revealing his name to his people. And that deliverance, by the way, came at exactly the time that God said it would, hundreds of years before when he told Abraham what was going to happen. All of these events in time are ordered by him and he is involved in it and controls it and sovereignly rules over it.
When we come to the New Testament, there was the time that the star appeared in signaling the birth of Christ. There was the time that Jesus began to preach. There was, Jesus on one occasion said, my time has not yet come.
On another occasion, then he says, my time is at hand. Time is something that God has established and ordered. Paul declares in his letter to the Romans that it was in due time that Christ died for the ungodly.
And we're told in First Timothy that Christ Jesus gave himself a ransom to be testified in due time. God is intimately involved in every detail of time. He transcends time and he's not of it, but he is at work in it. God works in time. He ordained the events of history from beginning to end. And the Bible refers to time with some words like appointed time, favorable time, the proper time. There are things that are part of history that God has set as hallmarks and particular events that will just change the course of history.
We are aware of this, even in the fact that we say this is February in 2023, and we date it from the time that Christ came into the world. God has scheduled history. It really is his story. And though to us it may appear at times that God delays and tarries, he's never late. He's always right on time.
He's not slow, but he is long suffering and patient. He graciously gives time for repentance. Paul's letter to the Romans, he says, do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God's kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?
True in the big picture of history. God is waiting for the return of Christ, giving time for all to come to repentance. It's also true in our lives personally, isn't it? Haven't we all known God's patient, long suffering, giving us time to deal with our sin, to repent and to turn from it? Even as believers, those little pet sins that we persist in and some besetting failure that we stubbornly hang on to and refuse to put it to death, God is patient and kind and long suffering. He's not slack or slow, but he is patient toward us, wishing that all should reach repentance. Now, God is patient and he's long suffering, he's gracious and merciful, but he will judge and that time will come. It's in the context of time that we see God at work, but it will not always be so. There will be an end.
The scoffers mock saying, where's the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation. And we're all in danger of living like that, aren't we?
We don't say it that way. And yet we often become complacent and apathetic and lethargic and we act like everything's just going to keep on keeping on. And there's not going to be any end either to the world or to our personal journey through it. But there will come a time because God has determined the end of time. Not only the when, but the what, what's going to happen when he brings it all to an end. Verse 10 again says the day of the Lord will come like a thief and then the heavens will pass away with a roar and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolve.
The earth and the works that are done in it will be exposed, will be burned up. So how does that change me? How does that reorient and refocus my thinking the way I see my life? The apostles asked the question there in verse 11. He says, since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be? How should we live in light of this?
All that stuff that we accumulate and store and move from place to place, it's all just going to burn up one day and disappear. And the priority in light of that has to be holy lives, godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God. First of all, he says that we are to live lives of holiness.
The word holy basically means something that is set apart, it's consecrated, it's dedicated to the Lord, set apart. That means that we as believers are to be different, to be separate from the world. It doesn't mean that we're to be weird or obnoxious, rather we are to be distinct and winsome. Peter wrote in his first letter that even in the face of suffering and persecution, we should be known for brotherly love, a tender heart, a humble mind, not repaying evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, blessing. Jesus even said that we are to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us, which points us to the second characteristic that Peter mentions here. We are to pursue godliness. Rightly responding to our enemies sets us apart as a holy people and it also makes it clear that we belong to God.
People don't normally act like that toward their enemies and we are to be that way. In fact, Jesus says that living like that, we are sons of our Father. We manifest godliness, we begin to look like our Father.
It becomes evident whose we are. Not only are we to show holiness and godliness in our life, but we are to be waiting for the coming of the Lord, to be hastening. It's amazing that he says that we are to be hastening the coming of the day of God. It just kind of boggles the mind when you start thinking about the way Scripture puts some of these spiritual realities that can't be really comprehended with our finite minds. How can we possibly magnify God?
We can't. We make him bigger in our perspective, but how can we hasten the day of the Lord? It's set. God has established it from the beginning and yet we are hastening that time when we live as we should here on earth, waiting for and hastening the coming of the Lord, waiting for the new heavens, the new earth. You know, in that new heaven, that new earth, righteousness dwells. There won't be any sin, nothing to defile, nothing to bring sorrow or pain or death. There won't be anything to repent of.
Sin won't be there. God will have established that new nature and done away entirely with that old sin nature. But in the meantime, we must daily put to death the sin, kill the desires of the flesh, obey Paul's word to the church at Colossae, put to death what is earthly in you. God is patiently granting time for repentance and we are to live lives of holiness and godliness, looking forward to the coming of our Lord. And though at times we're overwhelmed with our own sin and rebellion and disobedience and we struggle to put it to death and to mortify the sin, we have to, as we were reminded in our Sunday school this morning, we do this all in light of the cross and what God has done for us in Jesus. Sin has been dealt with at the cross. Every ordinance of the law that is written against us has been nailed to the cross and he has forgiven every transgression, every sin has been dealt with at the cross.
And he clothes us with the righteousness of that perfectly obedient life of the Son so that we will one day stand in his presence, not in fear, but as Jude says, with great joy, exceeding joy. I confess that as I was preparing this message, I at times was overwhelmed with the goodness, the kindness, the patience of God with me in my sin. And I knew, again, the call to repentance. A song from back in the 70s, I guess it was, came to my mind and I want to close by just sharing this with you.
This became my prayer over the last couple of days. I regret the hours I have wasted and the pleasures I've tasted that you were never in. And I confess that though your love is in me, it doesn't always win me when competing with my sin. I lament the idols I've accepted, the commandments I've rejected to pursue my selfish end and I confess I need you to revive me, put selfishness behind me and take up my cross again. And I repent, making no excuses. I repent, no one else to blame, and I return to fall in love with Jesus. I bow on my knees and I repent. The day of judgment will come, though it seems at times that God is delaying and tarrying, it will come. God is not slow, but he is patient, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. Let's pray. Father, you are a God of mercy and grace abounding in steadfast love.
We are rebels, self-centered and selfish, claiming rights for ourself. We are presumptuous in our sin and we choose our own way, even in the face of your great love. Father, grant us repentance. Grant us not just occasional turning, but a life of continuing repentance, turning from sin, turning to you in faith. Thank you that in Christ you have placed our sin on him and you have given us your righteousness. We rejoice in your patient, long-suffering goodness and kindness, which lead us to repentance. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-02-26 20:35:56 / 2023-02-26 20:44:43 / 9