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2nd Peter 3:1-18

 

“This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance:  that ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour:  knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, and saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.  For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water:  whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished:  but the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.  But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.  The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.  But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.  Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation [conduct, lifestyle] and godliness, looking for the hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?  Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.  Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.  And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.  Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness.  But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.  To him be glory both now and for ever.  Amen.”  

"2nd Peter chapter 3 he’s going to talk to the beloved talking to us four times in the chapter.  You’ll see there in verse 1 of 2nd Peter 3 it says “beloved, I now write unto you; in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance:  that you would be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets and the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour:” (verses 1-2) so first of all he says "beloved...I want you to be mindful."  In verse 8 he says “beloved be not ignorant of this one thing”  In verse 14 he says “beloved...be diligent” he challenges the believer to be diligent in regards to these things and in verse 17 he says “beloved...beware” ‘I want you to beware of certain things.’  So there’s an interesting flow in the chapter here as we jump into it. 

 

The 2nd Coming Of Jesus Christ The Broadest Subject In The New Testament:  Why?

 

“This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance:” now we have the mind of Christ, it’s your other mind that gives you problems but you have a pure mind [in Christ].  We have the mind of Christ it’s kind of unmixed “to stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance:  that ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour:” (verses 1-2)  of in King James should be from the Lord and Saviour:”  The idea is the words that the prophets spoke the words the apostles spoke they were from the Lord the Saviour, he’s affirming the deity of Christ there and challenging the Church to be mindful of the things that were spoken by the prophets and by the apostles in regards to the last days, that we should be mindful of those things.  We can know them and become so familiar with them that they no longer have the impact that they’re supposed to have on our lives.  'Oh we’re studying this again oh we’re talking about the Rapture again [1st resurrection to immortality for the rest of us folks] oh we’re talking...’  Peter says ‘These things are supposed to have an impact on our lives that’s the purpose of them’ and he says ‘he is seeking to stir up our minds and putting us in remembrance of certain things that our minds would be full of those things, mindful that we’d be thinking of them on a regular basis the words the Old Testament prophets, the commandment of the apostles, which was always watch, be sober, be vigilant, be ready that we would live godly in light of these things.’  And he says this is from the Lord.  There are over 300 references to the 2nd coming of Christ in the New Testament [see http://www.unityinchrist.com/prophecies/2ndcoming.htm].  There’s seven specific places that talk about the new birth.  Ah there’s a number of places that talk about repentance and faith, I forget how many twenty twenty-five specifically.  You know there’s about 70 to 80 places that speak of baptisms that’s of the Spirit, water baptism as a subject.  There are over 300 separate references about the 2nd coming of Jesus Christ.  It is by far the broadest subject in the New Testament.  And why would that be?  He says these things are from the Lord, why would that be, why would it be the broadest subject in the New Testament?  You know I put myself in the Lord’s sandals in a sense you know.  I’m going to Iraq you know just making this up.  And I know that while I’m gone America’s going to get hit with a nuke.  I know while I’m gone terrorists are going to set loose anthrax or something terrible, I know there’s going to be trouble here while I’m gone.  But I know that I’m going to come back and when I get back everything’s going to be ok with my wife and my kids.  What do I write to them about more than anything else?  Knowing the Lord loves his Bride more than I love mine, the Lord loves his children more than I love mine, that’s incredible to me, if that’s true I want to grow in that.  Because I love my wife and my kids so much.  But the reason it’s the broadest topic in the New Testament is throughout Christ is saying ‘I’m coming you’re in a foreign world right now, you’re a pilgrim, you’re in a hostile environment.  In this world you have tribulation, if this world hated me it’s going to hate you also, but I’m coming I’m coming’ he’s talking to his Bride ‘I’m coming and when I come everything’s going to be ok.  When I get there I am going to make it all right.  When I get there I am putting everything in order.  When I get there everything dangerous and destructive is going to be put in its proper place’ [read Isaiah 11:1-13; Ezekiel 36:1-38; Ezekiel 37:15-28 just for starters].  ‘When I get there, when I get there I’m coming, I’m coming.’ [read 1st Corinthians 15:49-56].  And for that reason it is by far the broadest subject in the New Testament, the coming of Christ. 

 

First Scoffers, Mockers Will Come Mocking You About Your Belief In The 2nd Coming Of Christ

 

He says ‘These things are from the Lord’ “knowing this first” preeminently not first in an order of things but this just should be preeminent “knowing this first that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts” (verse 3) scoffers, mockers, people that will make fun of the 2nd coming “walking after their own lusts, and saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.” (verses 3-4)  You know ‘Where is his coming you talk about all the time where is it?’ in the last days mockers will come and it says the reason they’re going to have that attitude is because they’re walking after their own lusts.  What they’re after is something carnal and sensual and temporary and pleasing in this world, and they’re willing to sacrifice what they know is true, or make fun of what they hope is not true for the sake of their own carnal ways ‘This is what we want, this feels good, I want to do this now.  Don’t tell me about the Bible, don’t tell me about Jesus, don’t tell me he’s coming because I like my sin, I like the way it feels.’  Sin feels good.  If sin felt bad the Bible wouldn’t have to warn us about it.  There’s nowhere in the Bible that says ‘Don’t hit yourself in the forehead with a ballpeen hammer,’ it just doesn’t say that.  Because you ain’t gonna do that because that hurts.  There’s nowhere in the Bible that says ‘don’t chew up carpet tacks.’  It says ‘Moses esteemed the reproach of Christ greater than the riches of Egypt, determining that he’d rather suffer that reproach than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season.’ (Hebrews 11:24-27)  The Bible is very clear that sin is pleasurable.  And it says in the last days there are going to be those you know, what they want to do is they want to continue in their sin and ‘they do not want to hear the moral standards, the ethical standards, what the Scripture has to say about what’s right and wrong and the fact that Christ is coming one day and he’s going to bring everybody into account.’  They don’t want to hear it.  He says because they’re walking after their own lusts.  They don’t have a Biblical reason.  They don’t have a scientific reason.  You know people who want to embrace evolution, people who want to deny that Noah’s flood ever happened, it says here they don’t have scientific reasons, they don’t have Biblical reasons, what they have is carnal reasoning that drives them.  “walking after their own lusts, and saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.” (verses 3b-4)  You know they’re talking about the Church fathers, these are the last days, I guess Peter says these will be the last days [when people start saying this I guess].  ‘Ya ya God created the world, nothing ever changes.’  And it says these mockers are going to come.  Now you know what I like about these mockers?  The fact that these mockers come proves that the Word that said they would come is true.  So I’m glad they’re here mocking because they’re just re-affirming how true the Bible is.  And when they give you a hard time say ‘You know I appreciate your mockery so much because you’re just another evidence that what the Bible says is the exact truth, thank you very much!’  ‘Where is the promise of his coming?  Nothing’s ever changed.’

 

People Are Willingly Ignorant About The Evidence Of Creation And A Worldwide Flood

 

“For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in water:  whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water perished:” (verses 5-6)  “willingly” means their will is involved, they’ve decided they are willingly ignorant, that all this was by the word of God that the heavens were created in the first place and the earth. And there is just more and more and more and more evidence [order and watch "The Genesis Code."].  I don’t know if you saw I think it was a US News & World Report one of the latest articles talked about Steven Myers it was in "World Magazine" too whose a Ph.D. he’s a brilliant scientist and he wrote a paper on Intelligent Design.  And his premise was evolution cannot have happened.  Now what we understand now about the digital code in the DNA it is an impossibility a fish could never grow to be a lizard and a lizard could never grow to be a dog and a dog could never grow to be a horse and a horse could never grow to be a monkey and a monkey could never grow to be a human because there’s a digital code they are what they are and its impossible.  [Also order and read “Darwin’s Black Box” by the Ph.D. level micro-biologist and geneticist Michael Behe.  You’ll be able to read about a third of the way into this 1.5 inch thick book before you get lost in the science (as a layman) but he proves his point of the master-design and intricacy within living cells right down to the protein and atomic structure level.]  And one of the editors for Smithsonian in their publication read it and was so impressed with it and he has three PhDs that he printed it in their periodical and then the heads of the Smithsonian Institute took so much heat that they fired this guy who was their editor with three earned Ph.D.s because he printed Steven Myers thesis whose also a Ph.D. and a brilliant guy.  But it caused such a firestorm that people from all over the world are reading Steven Myers website now and downloading his whole paper and it’s going everywhere now.  But they’re willingly ignorant they’re willingly ignorant of that.  What they said to Steven Myers is "Intelligent Design" you can’t say that because that insinuates a designer.  Duh!  [laughter]  This whole premise is this has to be designed this cannot have happened.  They don’t want to hear that.  They’re willingly ignorant of this and it then says “whereby” by the means of water “the world that then was being overflowed with water perished:” (verse 6)  And there’s evidence that the whole earth at one point was destroyed by a flood.  In fact there are over 270 records that anthropologists and the archeologists have turned up from around the entire world from different cultures and different eras and different ages, over 270 records of a worldwide flood.  In the Epic of Gilgamesh which goes back to the Sumerian Tablets it says there that God destroyed the world with a flood and then when the rain was finished that the guy whoever he names was on the boat sent forth a dove to see if he found dry land and he tells the whole story exactly the way the Bible tells it all the way back to ancient Babylon before Nebuchadnezzar’s Babylon.  And then it tells us that in those days the earth was divided in the days of Peleg, the continental drift.  So this story is in the Incas, in the Aztecs, it’s in the Chinese dynasties, it’s all around the world that at one point the entire earth was destroyed in a deluge by a flood.  The whole world knows about it.  These people don’t know because they want to be ignorant.  We know and if we know it seems like everybody should know.  [laughter]  The world was overflowed, it was destroyed with water, it perished. 

 

God Says ‘Next Time I Will Destroy The Earth With Fire’

 

“But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.” (verse 7)  So at the end of the flood God puts the rainbow in the clouds and says next time if I destroy the world it is not going to be by water it’s going to be with fire.  Peter here says the world now is reserved by the same Word of God that created the Word of God in the beginning, the same Word of God that brought judgment on the world that God created, the same Word that was spoken to us by the prophets and by the apostles that we should take heed to by that Word this world presently is reserved unto fire.  It will be cleansed and purged by fire ah against the judgment and against the perdition of ungodly men.  Now first thing ‘Beloved I want your minds to be stirred, I want you to understand, I want you to keep certain things in mind because mockers are gonna come and they’re going to try to dissuade you from your faith they’re going to make fun of what you believe particularly in the last days’ (verses 1-4)  You know there’s an increase in technology, there’s an increase in learning, an increase in math.  People are just as sinful, they just have more [and better] stuff to destroy us with.  The human condition hasn’t changed.  But you have the collective years of technology and discovery and so forth [going back to the 1700s and really taking off in the 1800s and 1900s to the point now where technology has raced ahead to the point where man can now erase all life off this planet 40 times over with just the US and Russian nuclear arsenals.  Once is quite enough.]  And that’s increasing on a parabola.  So know this that you’re going to take heat in the last days if you believe something so simplistic as “God created the world, he’s already cleansed it once, and he’s gonna cleanse it again” people are going to make fun of you.  When they make fun of you, you say ‘Thank you I was expecting you because the Bible told me you would come.’  

 

How God Uses Time

 

So that’s the first “beloved.” (covered in verses 1-4).  Second “beloved” “But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and thousand years as one day.” (verse 8)  Now there’s this one point Peter says ‘I don’t want you to be confused on this issue, and this is it, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years and a thousand years as one day.’  [Comment:  This principle was proven to be a law of physics by Albert Einstein.  Order and watch The Genesis Code.  This verse backs up all the laws of Relativity that the speed of time is not a constant in the universe or with God, Space-Time is variable.  Isn’t it amazing how the Bible "scoops" science every time?]  Important for us to know that because “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” (verse 9)  OK here’s the next thing you need to know and he’s saying 'I don’t want you to be ignorant of this, because it hasn’t happened doesn’t mean that its not going to happen because a day is with the Lord as a thousand [or 8-billion years] and a thousand years is with the Lord as a day, he’s outside of time [right!  Space-Time, Albert Einstein!].  He’s not subject to the same rules.  You know people are saying 'Oh yea what’s taking him so long?’  He’s right on time nothing’s taking him long.  A thousand years is with the Lord as a day.  You may say ‘This has taken so long, why is he taking so much time?’  Well it’s just like a day to him.  Of course on the other hand a day it says is like a thousand years.  He can accomplish in one day what you would think would take a thousand years to accomplish.  He can also do that.  He’s not bound by time.  Now we have a very interesting prophecy in Hosea, ah you don’t have to turn there I’ll read it to you, Hosea the last verse in chapter 5 and the first two verses in chapter 6 the Lord says, ‘I will go and then return to my place.’  Now that’s speaking of his first coming.  ‘I will go’ he came died on the cross [ascended back to heaven] ‘and I will return to my place until they acknowledge their offense and seek my face and in their affliction they shall seek me early.’  Jesus said that to the Jews ‘Henceforth you shall see me no more until you say Blessed is he that comes in the name of the Lord,’ so that Lord says ‘I will go then, I’m going to return to my place,’ he says ‘until they acknowledge their offense and seek my face.’  ‘Come let us return, they’re going to say this ‘Come let us return unto the Lord for he hath torn and he will heal us.  He has smitten, he will bind us up, after two days will he revive us, and in the third day he will raise us up and we will live in his sight.’  After two days the context is Titus Vespasian when Jesus comes the first time a day is with the Lord as a thousand years, a thousand years as a day, after two thousand years, he’s going to return again, that’s where we are now.  I don’t know what exact day it’s the mark, but that’s where we are.  [And add another thousand years going through the 1000 year Millennial Kingdom of God period (cf. Revelation 20:4-6) and this brings you to the 2nd resurrection when all of Israel (and mankind for that matter) who have sinned ‘been born and died’ are resurrected back to life which is prophecied in Ezekiel 37:1-14, the great general resurrection the Jews always looked forward to.  There have been various interpretations about this resurrection but this seems to fit this prophecy to a T as far as the passage of three ‘Lord days’ or three thousand years from his 1st coming.  For some of those other interpretations see http://www.unityinchrist.com/plaintruth/battle.htm]  Two days have gone by since the first time he came and returned.  And he says ‘in the third day’ which will be the 7th Millennium Sabbath, the one-thousand year reign of Christ, in the six thousand year history of mankind the seventh day is a day of rest the 7th thousandth years ready to begin soon, it says here ‘in the third day he’s going to raise us up.’  ‘A day with the Lord is as a thousand years a thousand years is as a day’ he says here.  And “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance." (verse 9)  [Comment:  That great general resurrection back to physical life spoken of in Ezekiel 37:1-14 seems to fit this verse here coupled to Hosea 5 last verse and Hosea 6:1-2.  Amazing but this is a veiled reference to that period of time where God sets his hand to saving the entire world, all those who have lived and died without a chance for salvation.  This theme is just jumping out of these sets of verses here.  I find that amazing although most don’t believe this interpretation yet and some fight against it trying to limit God’s grace.]  Ezekiel tells us that God takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked.  Why is he waiting?  Sometimes as Christians we think ‘Lord get us out of here!’ You know it’s bad enough that there’s cancer, there’s suffering, there’s difficulty ‘Lord Jesus come quickly!  And on top of that now we’ve got these mockers making fun of us because we’re saying ‘Lord Jesus come quickly.’  And Peter says ‘I don’t want you to be discouraged, disillusioned, I don’t want you to count slackness the way other men count slackness, that’s not what’s going on here.  But he’s longsuffering because he doesn’t want anybody to perish, but he wants all men to come to repentance.’  I got saved in 1972 I am glad that Jesus Christ didn’t come in 1971.  But I wish he would come back now, I wish he would come, I’m so selfish now that I’m in, its ok if he comes.  You know what I mean?  ‘There’s a couple billion people that aren’t saved on the planet, I know that, but I’m in so get us outa here, let’s get the program moving!’  It’s interesting how we are, isn’t it?  Peter says ‘I don’t want you to be discouraged, he’s not tarrying, he’s not not fulfilling his word, he hasn’t made a promise that he’s not keeping, but he’s longsuffering.  And the reason he’s longsuffering is because he doesn’t want anyone to perish, he wants all men to come to repentance’ and it’s the only time in either one of Peter’s letters that he uses the word “repentance.”  Very interesting it’s his only usage of the word metanoia, to change the mind.  And what he’s saying here is the lifestyle should change.  Remember John the Baptist when he was preaching repentance he said ‘Bring forth fruit worthy of repentance, don’t just say ‘I believe in God, oh yea I’m a Christian.’  No, no, no, there should be a change in your life, there should be a change in our lives if we’ve come to Christ.  When we’re born again (cf. John 3) and Christ comes into our heart then the power is there then to break the power of sin in our lives (Romans 8:1-9).  And yes we grow as time goes by and we change.  But there should be a definite recognizable change when we come to Christ if repentance is real, if we are really turning from the world then we’re turning to the Saviour.  If we’re really changing our mind we’re turning away from something and we’re turning to him.  And he says here ‘God is longsuffering for this reason, because he wants all men to do that.’  He’s using time to serve grace, his purposes of grace.  God is using time to serve his purposes of grace.  And God measures time morally not by the clock, not by the calendar, he measures time morally not by length but morally.  And he says they say ‘When Lord?’ and he says It’s like when you see the vultures gathering when a carcass becomes so rotten and so putrefied that the carrion are drawn to it,’ he says ‘that is when, when things get to the point where it gets so rotten that’s when judgment will come.’  And I don’t know how far from rotten we are.  I think were at least at “rot” [laughter] and I think we might even be at “rott” I don’t know if were to “ten” yet, but we’re pretty close, we’re pretty close.  But God is measuring time morally. 

 

‘The Day Of The Lord---What Is It?’

 

He says “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works therein shall be burned up.  Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?”  (verses10-12)  Notice plural “heavens.”  Doesn’t sound like a good day.  That day is coming he says.  Now he calls it “the Day of the Lord.”  The day of the Lord begins at the Rapture [1st resurrection to immortality] of the Church.  The Day of the Lord begins when God supernaturally imposes his will into human history taking the steering wheel of everything to himself again.  It [the Day of the Lord] goes through the Tribulation (World War III) it goes through the Millennium to the Great White throne, that’s the Day of the Lord.  It’s the Day of the Lord because it becomes his day, because he intervenes and he steps in and takes things under his sovereign control in a way that has not manifested itself for thousands of years.  But the Day of the Lord is coming.  Christ is going to come like a thief in the night.  Were told that.  And if you don’t think he’s coming tonight it might be when he comes.  If you weren’t expecting him to come while we were here studying the Bible for an hour this might be the hour.  It says it will be an hour that you think not.  We know it will be at 2 o’clock in the morning when the Rapture happens, somewhere.  [laughter]  “The day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night;” and in the context of that “day of the Lord” he’s saying “the heavens” plural “shall pass away with a great noisestudy that word “noise,” in the Greek it means to be crackling and sizzling.  It’s a bad noise.  “and the elements shall melt with fervent heat” now we have the same word used three times here, you have the word “melt” in verse 10, you have the word “dissolved” in verse 11 and you have the word “dissolved” down in verse 12, all them are “to loosen” the same word.  Because God is going to “loosen” the elements.  [Comment:  When?  In Revelation 20:14-15 which everyone understands as Gehenna hellfire.  In Revelation 20:1 the very next verse in Revelation God is creating a new earth and new heavens.  So obviously verses 14-15 of Revelation 20 and verse 1 of Revelation 21 are part of the same event where all the elements within the whole universe are “loosened.”  Now what does that mean?  Pastor Joe will explain.]  Very interesting idea.  Because the whole idea of fission, the whole idea of what human beings in their technological advances have done is they’ve figured out how to split the atom.  They know how to split it, they don’t know what holds it together.  [Physicists call that force that holds the protons together in the nucleus a mysterious particle force they have named “gluons.”]  Atomic structure is a mystery because in the center of the atom you have a group of protons clumped together.  And the law of repelling positive charges says they should fly apart.  The other reason they should fly apart is because electrons that have a negative charge are revolving around them and that should pull the core of the atom apart.  And scientists have theories but have no idea what holds the atom together.  Now we know from Colossians 1:17 it says ‘Christ is the Creator, that all things were made by him, and all things consist by him.’ and the Greek word is “cohere, to hold together” that the whole universe is held together through Christ.  We know what holds the atom together, Jesus does.  A very profound idea because that means he held the knuckles together when they beat his face.  He held the thorns together when they went through his brow.  He held the nails together when they went through his hands and his feet.  And he assumed responsibility for a fallen creation upon himself so that we could be forgiven.  But when they [scientists] split that atom you see the power that’s released.  The power to hold it together is greater than the power you see when it’s released.  It takes the greater power to make the universe hold together.  You know when they did that Oppenheimer and those guys in the Manhattan Project, when they were ready to set that first atomic bomb off, you know what they did the night before they set it off?  They sat around and talked because they didn’t know if the fission process would continue and incinerate the entire atmosphere of the earth.  So the night before they detonated it they sat around and figured 'Well we’re hoping that it disperses as it detonates and that it stops.’  [Talk about mad scientists not sure of what they’re doing.]  But if it starts splitting every atom they didn’t know if that was going to happen, they figured it will take this long to get to New York, they figured it out it’ll take this long to get to London, it will take this long to get to Beijing, it’ll take this long to burn up the atmosphere and get to the other side of the planet ‘and we’ll all be crispy critters, we’ll all be toast.  But let’s set it off tomorrow and see what happens.’   They set it off anyway!  Then when they tested the hydrogen bomb on the Bikini Islands they said it was equivalent to a hundred million tons of TNT.  And when the President asked the military ‘What are we talking about here?’  And he said ‘Mr. President,’ one of the generals said ‘Just think of it this way, all of the munitions in World War II owned by every side, America, Great Britain, Japan, the Italians, the French, the Germans, the Russians, the complete store of munitions on every side was equivalent to about 3 million tons of TNT and this weapon will be 100 million tons we surmise.’  And they set that one off too.  [mankind is nuts.]  Now I don’t think this is talking about a nuclear war here [looking at the Greek for the words “melt” and “dissolve,” the elements being “loosened” in verses 10-12].  OK?  This is a button that God pushes when he’s ready.  And it says he’s simply going to “loosen” the whole universe, the heavens.  Your space-brothers are not coming to rescue you.  ok?  Your UFO buddies are not coming to bail you out of here.  Because when he does this the heavens themselves “dissolve” “the heavens of heavens” plural it says, and the earth.  Imagine a nuclear bomb as big as the universe, that’s some sizzling and crackling.  [Actually hell, Gehenna fire will consist of a nuclear detonation 20 billion light-years across and it won’t be slow or gradual in that sense.  And then it looks like the BIG BANG occurs all over again with a recreated universe and recreated earth (cf. Revelation 21:1), where the New Jerusalem comes down to rest on this new earth forever (cf. Revelation 21:1-23).]  He’s going to let the whole thing go.  He’s holding it all together right now.  That’s what it says.  Peter says the day is coming when he’s going to do that.  Revelation chapter 20 tells us about that, it says “I saw a great white throne and him that sat on it from whose face the earth and the heavens fled away, there was found no place for them.” so there’s this big crackling, the heavens and the earth dissolve, they’re gone (in verses 14-15 of Revelation 20) and all there is, is the great white throne and then all of the dead of every age that are damned that will be condemned are gathered there before the great white throne and they’re thrown into outer darkness it says ‘whosoever were not found written in the book of the life of the Lamb was cast in the lake of fire,’ and then John says ‘And I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth they were passed away,’ and he says ‘there was no more sea either.’ (Revelation 21:1)  [Calvary Chapels and some other Christian groups believe all the “unsaved dead,” those who had not accepted Jesus Christ in their normal physical lifetimes, are all cast into this lake of fire.  The Sabbath-keeping Churches of God have a different interpretation about the “unsaved dead” which can be found at http://www.unityinchrist.com/plaintruth/battle.htm.  All prophecy including these about the “unsaved dead” are secondary compared to the Gospel of Salvation, and this merely makes them differing interpretations which do not affect the salvation of the believer.  Some like to pound the pulpit and say any other beliefs other than their own are damnable heresies, which is not so.  Paul said with prophecy we’re all looking through that darkened glass and thus don’t quite know how to interpret what we’re looking at. So read it and if you think this interpretation warrants believing in so be it.  We’ll all find out at the Wedding Feast of the Lamb anyway.]  The heavens and the earth are going to dissolve [in this nuclear detonation], because some people have the Lord coming back and renovating things [which he will do for the period of time during the Millennial rule of Jesus Christ, which Calvary Chapels believe also, it’s just that Peter is lumping a lot of prophecies all together here, he didn’t have much time left to write or dictate this to Luke, before he was killed.  But this “dissolve, loosen” event occurs a short while after that 1000 Millennial year period] like this is a fixer-upper.  He’ll reign for a thousand years in his Kingdom [which will be on earth] but there’s something much more profound than that, that ultimately takes place.  Isaiah says it this way ‘For behold I create new heavens and a new earth, and the former shall not be remembered nor come to mind.  Behold I create, bara is the Hebrew word “to create something from nothing.”  God’s going to start all over, he’s going to let this thing that’s been corrupted by sin, he’s just going to let it go and it’s just going to blow up, it’s going to be gone, and he's going to start over again.  Now you and I are not going to blow up because we’ll have spiritual [spirit] bodies by then.  But what that means is you and I are going to hear our Father say “Let there be light” just like in the Book of Genesis [i.e. we’ll be able to witness the BIG BANG of creation all over again and for those of you who love physics this one will blow your mind.  To get a good idea of what watching that event might be like but not necessarily following the exact same creation pattern as before, order and watch the excellent movie “The Genesis Codeoff of http://www.amazon.com].  ‘Let the dry land appear’ were going to get to watch him go through creation and watch the new heavens and the new earth come into existence.  I don’t know, I don’t like anybody telling me I’m a doomsday guy, that’s like the most positive thing I can ever imagine.  I’m the ultimate optimist, I’m way beyond doomsday, I’m already into the new heavens and the new earth.  I’m not a doomsday guy, I just want to get that over with so we can get the program on the road. 

 

Do We Have Anything To Do With When This Judgment Will Come?

 

It’s with “a great noise and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.  Seeing then” now he uses this idea of seeing three times here in the chapter “Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?" (verses 10-12)  i.e. do you really believe Christ is coming?  I hear people say 'Oh I believe Jesus is coming, I love to read prophecy books’ it’s (prophecy) not for speculation, it’s for motivation.  I hear people say they know Christ is coming, they’re living in sexual sin, they’re watching pornography, they’re ruining their family with alcohol or down in Atlantic City gambling the family money away ‘Oh yea I believe Jesus is coming,’ like they’re going to be fine if Jesus comes while they’re doing that.  I don’t know about you guys I got saved in 1972 and by 73 I was backslid for a little while and if I were to get stoned then, and I did then, I was like ‘oh man I’m going to try to read my Bible, oh Lord don’t come now don’t come now, wait till I’m straight, please don’t come now Lord oh Lord don’t come now!’  I wasn’t saying ‘OK here we go, let’s get the show on the road!  I know I’m stoned but you can come tonight if you want to.’  If you believe that he’s coming if you believe that this is true, John says that ‘any man that has this hope purifies himself even as he ["he" Jesus] is pure.’  It is the purifying hope of the Church.  Repentance Peter says is attached to it.  Seeing then that all these things are going to be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation [lifestyle, conduct] and godliness,” (verse 11) and it’s interesting that Greek word there for “manner” is “foreign” “what foreign from another country kind of people ought ye to be” and here’s why you’re foreign “in all holiness of conversation” that’s “lifestyle” “conversation” “and godliness...”  You should be godly people, people that don’t look like the rest of this world, you should look like a foreigner.  If you believe this ball of dirt is going to be incinerated and the heavens themselves are going to be consumed and burn up then Peter says the way you should be living here is like a foreigner, like an ambassador, like a pilgrim, you’re here but you’re not from here, that it should effect our lives.  “looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?”  “Looking for” that’s ‘expectantly, eagerly’ “looking for and hastening unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?" (verse 12) He’s saying that we should live as foreigners and we should live with an eager expectant looking for the coming of Christ.  It tells us in Romans 8:19 ‘that even the creation itself with expectation is waiting for the manifestation of the sons of God.’  And the Greek word means to have your neck outstretched looking around the corner waiting for something.  It says the very creation itself was subject to vanity and it is in expectancy that Christ would come.  How then should we live?  It says we should live in a holy lifestyle, separate, holy means separate.  If you’re a gas station attendant be a holy gas station attendant.  If you’re a carpenter be a holy carpenter.  If you’re a cow be a holy cow.  [laughter]  Just you know it means you belong to him, you don’t belong to this world, and in godliness just be living the right way.  Now here’s an interesting grammatical problem in the Greek.  I know that’s why you came tonight to hear an interesting grammatical problem. “looking for” that’s our attitude ‘expectantly looking for’ and then it says  “and hasting unto the coming of the day of God” Greek scholars are divided right down the middle and qualified Greek scholars ask is it saying that ‘looking for and eagerly waiting for the day of Christ’?  or ‘Through our godly lifestyle were looking for and we are hastening the day that Christ returns’?  So there’s this big question.  Do we have an effect when we pray “Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done”?  There’s a point in time when the fullness of the Gentiles are gathered in.  I hope every time we have an altar call here that the last one is here.  Do we through prayer and evangelism effect the world we live in?  Do we have anything to do with when this judgment comes?  Do we hasten it?  You can have two schools of thought here, one of them is going to say you have an error on one side that says 'God is so sovereign (and he is) and God has everything under control, there’s no sense evangelizing, there’s no sense doing anything because whoever is going to be saved is going to be saved and everything that’s going to happen is going to happen, so there’s no sense doing anything. And that’s stupid.  [Comment:  Now even if God never called another human being before the tribulation that argument is wrong because the Book of Revelation shows multiple millions of people will come to conversion and salvation through Christ during the tribulation due to our very witness now and before the tribulation.  Our impact though it might seem small now will be multiplied millions of times over when these folk see what we’ve been preaching and evangelizing to them has come to pass.  People and our friends in the world may not seem like they hear our message but they do even though they ignore it for the present.  Our evangelistic efforts will not be wasted in the end.  So Pastor Joe I agree with you that’s stupid.]  ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel’ were told to do these things.  The other side is people take themselves so seriously that they think God can’t do anything without them, Gods’ little helpers.  [Oh don’t you love people like that?  Jesus said he could raise up stones to preach the gospel if need be.]  So people err on both sides of this verse.  I think you know as I read through this if I sit alone with this, and I say ‘Father speak to my heart as I read this,’ he just encourages me to be everything that he wants me to be, that I would be yielded.  And who knows if we’re completely yielded and were brokenhearted in prayer maybe that will push back when he comes because maybe we’ll see great revival in this nation.  [We will, Pastor Joe.  see: https://unityinchrist.com/prophets/Zephaniah/REVIVAL.html]  Or the other side is if we see a great revival and the Church is what the Church is supposed to be, and people get saved faster maybe it’ll hasten the day that he comes.  In Nineveh, and Jonah was bummed because he wanted God to kill them all, he ran in the other direction, the whale swallowed him the whole story, he comes back and he goes into Nineveh and here’s his message ‘Forty days and you guys are smoke.’  That’s all he said.  ‘In forty days judgment comes,’ and he left and the whole city repented and judgment was set back.  [Now judgment did come, Babylon came many generations later and did smoke the entire city to the point that it charred the very stones it was made of.]  And Jonah sat outside the city bummed out.  ‘I knew it, that’s why I didn’t want to come here, I knew you were gracious, I know you’re merciful, and I knew if they heard about it and responded that you’d be nice to them.’  What kind of prophet messenger is that to the culture?  [he’s laughing]  [But Nineveh was the capital city of Assyria the arch enemy of Israel.  That is why Jonah didn’t want to warn them.]  He sat out there hoping that God would smoke them anyway.  But did he have an effect on the judgment of Nineveh?  So it’s an interesting challenge for us in this verse.  You can stand on whatever side of it you want, that’s fine with me, I’m going to try to stand in the middle.  I heard Warren Wiersby at a Calvary Chapel pastors conference and somebody asked Wiersby and they said “Are you a Calvinist or are you an Armeniest?”  And he said “Im neither” he said “I’m no man’s disciple,” and he said “and I don’t want any man to be my disciple.”  He said “If you’re too much of a Calvinist you rob man of his responsibility.  If you’re too much of an Armeniest you rob God of his glory and his sovereignty.”  He said “I’m not interested in robbing anybody.”  And he said, he said this to us “Besides that you men are pastors” he said “You’re called to feed sheep not Giraffes.”  You can think about that.  In other words the food is supposed to be down here where you can get it, it’s not supposed to be way up there where nobody understands it.  So it was a great answer.  He said “Charles Haddon Spurgeon was the most balanced Calvinist that ever lived, he was a five point Calvinist and challenged people to get saved every week in his church.”  I’m off the subject but.  “looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?  Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.” (verses 12-13)  “We” I’m glad he got back to us because this is a heavy set of verses.  “we look for a new heavens and a new earth” and that goes with Isaiah, what Isaiah said “it’s a fresh” in the Greek it means “new in substance” it’s fresh.  It’s new, it’s created over again [in this case new matter, altogether new protons, electrons, atoms, perhaps even with the second law of thermodynamics suspended].  “a new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.”  Dwelleth” is the Greek word that means “to settle down and be at home.”  You know, come on in, take your shoes off and set a spell, that’s to dwell.  It says ‘in this new heavens and this new earth righteousness is going to be at home.’  Doesn’t that sound good?  Righteousness is just going to snuggle up and be right at home in this new world.  That sounds good to me. 

 

‘Be Diligent About These Things I’ve Been Telling You So That You Might Be In Peace’

 

Here comes the next exhortation.  “Wherefore beloved seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace without spot and blameless.” (verse 14)  We’re seeing something again here, seeing that we’re looking for such things.  Be diligent to keep yourself because the last chapter was about the false teachers, mockers, people are going to come particularly targeting new believers, trying to steal away their faith.  He says “be diligent” we have to be diligent, we have to be mindful he says, we have to be wise not ignorant in regards to certain things.  And we need to be diligent.  God is asking for your cooperation, you need to be diligent, we need to be in the Word, we need to be in prayer, we need to be living in such a way that we’re not ashamed when he comes.  He says that, that we live in such a way that we may be found in peace.  Can you say tonight ‘Lord come Lord Jesus?  I remember that first year of my Christian experience struggling and backsliding and I couldn’t say that ‘Come tonight Lord.’  You know to walk with him is a struggle and a struggle with the flesh and a struggle with the world, but the great thing is I can lay my head down every night when I go to bed and say ‘Lord it would be nice to wake up right around the throne.’ (cf. Revelation 4:1-11)  ‘Come Lord Jesus.’  And the only reason we’re ever found without spot and blameless is because of the righteousness of Christ that’s imparted to us that we’re living in faith.  You’re never blameless in and of yourself.  The Book of Revelation chapter 12 verse 10 says that Satan whose the accuser of the brethren, catagero, categorizes our sins, ceases not to accuse them day and night before the throne of God.  But it says they overcame by the blood of the lamb and by the word of his testimony.  It doesn’t say ‘Satan accused them of stuff and the stuff he accused them of wasn’t true,’ no, the reason he did accuse them is he had some stuff, the reason the enemy accuses us is because he’s got the goods on us in one sense.  But the way we overcome is through the blood of Christ and the word of his testimony.  Be diligent here to be in Christ, to be in the Word, be ready when he comes so you can live in peace waiting for the coming of Christ.

 

  People Are Going To Be Saved Because God's Waiting

 

“And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation:” people are going to get saved because he’s waiting “even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you;” (verse 15)  And Paul said the same thing in Romans chapter 2 verse 3 that through God’s longsuffering he’s hoping that through his mercy people will turn and through his goodness people will come to salvation. 

 

‘Some People Torture A Scripture Until It Says What They Want It To Say To Their Own Destruction’

 

"As also in all his epistles speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest as they do also the other scriptures unto their own destruction." (verse 16)  Now Paul in Thessalonians, Colossians, Philippians, all of his letters spoke of the coming of Christ.  Now Peter’s got some nerve saying some things Paul said are hard to be understood saying that because he wrote a few things here that we’re all scratching our heads about.  Notice this “also the other scriptures unto their own destruction.”  He just told us that the epistles of Paul the apostle where part of the inspired Word.  He said ‘Some people wrestle with some of the things that Paul wrote as they do with the other scriptures.’  Peter realizing that the New Testament was being written and that Paul’s epistles were part of the Scripture.  And he said ‘Some people wrestle those things to their own destruction.’  It means it’s an interesting Geek word it was most often used, you ever see one of those movies where they put somebody on a rack and they stretch him?  That means to torture somebody on the rack.  And it says some people do that with Scriptures, they take a verse and they torture it until it confesses whatever they want it to say.  If you torture any verse long enough you can get it to say whatever you want, instead of exegesis its isogesis, they’re putting meaning into it instead of expounding the Scripture and getting the meaning out of it and understanding what it says.  And you see people do that in the church, they come up with all kinds of strange ideas because they torture some text until it confesses what they want it to say.  He says there are those that are unlearned and unstable and they torture the Scripture to their own destruction.  “Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also being led away with the error of the wicked fall from your own stedfastness." (verse 17)  Here’s the last “beloved” and the last “seeing”  Seeing what things?  What he’s written in these chapters to us, that we’ve escaped the corruption of the world through lust, through the great and precious promises that have been given to us, that the Word of God is dependable, that false teachers will come, that Christ is going to judge the world even though mockers will come in the last days, that God has given us promises and that our hope is set on those things and we are looking for it hasting unto the day of Christ that we should live separate in this world.  He says ‘seeing you know these things before beware.’  Now seeing you know these things it’s interesting in the Greek “seeing you know these things before” is prognosko, pro “before” gnosko “to know.”  You see these things ahead of time, seeing you know what the prognosis is.  You look at this world right now, you know my dad had  congestive heart failure, then the kidneys fail, everything goes, and they say that somebody dies of “complications.”  That’s what our world is dying of right now, complications.  Because one system is shutting down, another and it’s just becoming way too complex to keep it all going, that’s the prognosis.  Our present world is in hospice care right now.  “seeing ye know these things before” you know the prognosis “beware,” be on your toes, be constantly watching, here’s what he says “lest ye also being led away with the error of the wicked fall from your own stedfastness.”  What does he mean “lest you also”?  He uses a grammatical structure that includes himself “unless you also.”  Is he thinking back to that rooster crowing?  ‘lest you also be led away with the error of the wicked  ‘I swore he could count on me and I told him all the other guys, they might leave but Lord you can count on me,’ and what I got for that was err err err err errrr!  So I want you brethren to beware.  You know these things lest you also are moved from your own stedfastness.’  Or was he talking about when Paul rebuked him in front of the church at Antioch?  Because Peter was out there, was enjoying the fellowship with the Gentile believers, Barnabas was there and they were eating Italian sausage and pork roll [it never said that in the Scripture he’s reading things into this, it was a cultural thing that had to do with separation between Jew and Gentile, not eating at the same table, and had nothing to do with the Hebrew food laws of Leviticus 11, there was probably nothing unclean by the Leviticus 11 standards at that table at this period of time in Church history] and having a great time and certain brethren came with James from Jerusalem and it says that then Peter began to draw back, Paul uses a word for a sailor, he began to trim his sails.  And he [Paul] says ‘You’re not walking orthopodao, you’re not walking straight-footedly according to the Gospel.’  Is Peter talking about that?  Maybe he’s thinking about that.  But Peter knows that there were struggles in his own past and in his own life, and he knows that a believer doesn’t fall from salvation [I disagree with that, Hymenaeus and that other guy Demas went back into the world, different groups have different interpretations here “once saved always saved” is one view and “you can fall from salvation” being the other view, we’ll find out later at the 2nd coming and Wedding Feast when a lot of doctrinal interpretations will be clarified] but a believer falls from their stedfastness.  And that’s what he’s warning us about because he wants us to be stedfast, he wants us to have our feet on the path and he wants us to be making steady progress moving forward growing in Christ.  And he warns ‘you know the prognosis (for this world) we know these things ahead of time, we see them,’ he says ‘so let’s beware, let’s guard those things.’  “lest ye also being led away with the error of the wicked fall from your own stedfastness.” (verse 17b) 

   

'Grow In The Grace And Knowledge Of Jesus Christ

 

“But” rather than that “grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.  To him be glory both now and for ever.  Amen.” (verse 18)  King James says “of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ” it literally says this “grow in grace and knowledge from our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.”  ‘Grow in grace’ and its ‘continually grow in grace,’ it talks about a steady growth.  He doesn’t say ‘Grow in spurts, sputter along, have a rollercoaster experience with Jesus.’  He says ‘Grow constantly in grace and knowledge from our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.’   If we grow just in grace we can end up doing foolish things.  If we grow just in knowledge we end up being heady and being so right were just dead right [i.e. dead orthodoxy], knowledge puffs up love edifies it.  But he gives us this challenge that we should grow in grace and in knowledge both of them.  Grow in grace and in knowledge.  Paul signs off with grace in the end of 2nd Timothy.  John signs off with grace in the end of Revelation.  It’s very interesting Paul used the word grace (charis) more than any of the apostles because he had murdered the Church, he had slaughtered Christians and he used grace over 120 times in his writings.  Peter uses grace sparingly and talks about the very-colored grace of God, many hues, many colors, because he was emotional he was up and down, he needed very-colored grace, that’s what suited him.  John is the most reticent and he uses the word “grace” seven times.  If you read John’s Gospel 1st 2nd and 3rd John and the Book of Revelation you will only find the word “grace” seven times in all of his writings.  Four times in the first chapter of his Gospel “that grace and truth has come by Christ” that we see grace in the face of Christ.  Grace for grace he’s given us.  Then he doesn’t use it again.  Once in 2nd John and then he uses it in the introduction of Revelation and the close of Revelation “grace” but he does say this ‘We see grace in the face of Jesus Christ.’  And then he used the word “Jesus” 270 times in his Gospel, almost more than the other Gospels combined.  He says ‘You want to see grace look at Jesus.’  And then he says ‘Let me tell you about Jesus.’  And man does he tell us about Jesus.  But grace, they all commend us in the most difficult of days to God’s grace.  Paul warning about the last days commends the Church to the grace of God, he says ‘only Timothy, he’s the only one I can trust.’  Peter here too says ‘This is the way the last days are going to be, scoffers, false teachers,’ but commits us to the grace of God.  John has the Book of Revelation, sees things that are unimaginable and it ends by commending the Church to the grace of God.  That’s why we’re here tonight, God’s grace.  That’s why we are what we are, Paul says ‘I am what I am by the grace of God.’  That we’re to grow in grace he says through Titus ‘that grace has drawn us to salvation teaching us to deny ungodly lusts in this present world and to look forward to the coming of our God and Saviour Jesus Christ.’  Paul says ‘Grace saved us, grace keeps us, grace makes us look home.’  Peter ends here by saying “grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.  To him” to Jesus “be glory both now and for ever.  Amen.”  We will probably see Peter face to face before we get back to his two epistles again.  On Wednesday night it’ll be at least 11 years by the time we get back here.  On Sundays were probably five years away.  So I’m hoping to see Peter before I see his epistles again besides in my own reading.  Ah 1st 2nd and 3rd John read ahead some remarkable, remarkable, remarkable things, I encourage you to read ahead...lets stand lets pray...[transcript of a connective expository sermon on 2nd Peter 3:1-18 given by Pastor Joe Focht, Calvary Chapel of Philadelphia, 13500 Philmont Avenue, Philadelphia, PA  19116]

 

related links:   

The 2nd Coming of Christ, the broadest subject in the New Testament.  See http://www.unityinchrist.com/prophecies/2ndcoming.htm

How God Uses Time, How He Created the Universe and will again.  Order the DVD movie "The Genesis Code" online at: http://www.amazon.com

 


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