Remember How to Live – 2 Peter 3:11-18 Sermon Manuscript

-Why do we gather together week after week? Have you ever asked that question? I remember in college it was really trendy to “have church” at Starbucks, that’s the best place for me to worship. Is that what God has called us to do? Do you think the early church had green mermaids on their cups when they met together? One of the ways I’ve started talking about our need to gather is: remember and remind. We need to remember the true story we’re living in, that Jesus is God, that the tomb is empty and that compels us to live differently than the world. But we also need to be reminding each other of that reality. When I’m sitting alone at Starbucks, I don’t have others reminding me of these truths, I don’t have people calling out sin in my life, I don’t have what God has called me to.

-One way of remembering is singing! I got to hear my favorite singing this week!

READ/PRAY

  1. How Must We Live Now? (11-13)

-Since, connecting us back to what Pastor Jeramy preached on 2 weeks ago.

-If you didn’t know or hadn’t heard, Jesus is going to come back, and it might be soon! Part of Peter’s purpose for writing this letter is to correct poor theology and false teachers. All of chapter 2 is devoted to dealing with the false teachers who pursued pleasure at all costs. Part of the reason they felt free to live that way is because they had become convinced Jesus wasn’t ever going to come back (remember waiting for Christmas to finally come when you were growing up?)

-Since all these things (heavens and elements) will be “dissolved” 

-Weird word in the Greek, some say “melt away” sounds like the created order is reverting back to the primordial idea it was before creation. Does that meant they’re going to die and then be recreated, or is this a purifying? If you’ve ever seen a movie like LOTR where they smelt down the metal to purify/strengthen it (as when the orcs are preparing for Helm’s Deep), this is meant to refine and get rid of all the impurities. That debate is too big for my allotted time, so I’ll let you go study how we put the end times together on your own time!

-Peter’s primary reminder remains: the end is coming! It’s going to happen at a time we least expect it, but what affect does that have for me today? Hopefully (by now) we all will acknowledge, Jesus is going to come back, but you’ve probably heard the comment of someone being “so heavenly minded they do no earthly good.” (I have yet to meet anyone like that!) But Peter tells us that idea is ridiculous. Because Jesus is coming back:

-It compels/demands a completely new way of living, a radically new ethic that we’re to hold ourselves to: holiness and godliness

-Holiness ties to 1 Peter 1:14-16

-Since we have been purchased by an unmeasurable payment (the shed blood of Jesus) we are commanded to no longer act like we’re still a part of the world. We’re commanded to act like God, that is being holy, sacred, set apart from the sinful world. That’s what God means we we’re described as His children: we now have his attributes in our lives. This is what it means to image God today: being holy. 

-Godliness connects to 2 Peter 1:4 “having become partakers of the divine nature”

-Godliness in vs. 3

-Comes through knowledge, comes by escaping worldly corruption

-Listened to a podcast this week with Andy Crouch (Tech Wise Family is fantastic) but brought up the idea as much of technology today being mammon, or a demonic temptation. Have you done an assessment of your use of technology and looked for ways in which your use may not be holiness and godliness? Andy shares that both of his kids have completely sworn off of social media. As we live lives of holiness and godliness we are:

-Waiting for and hastening the coming

-Waiting for – 2 kinds of waiting, active vs. passive. Active like when your dad has been gone on a work trip and your mom saves the house cleaning for the hour before he walks in. Passive like the previous 6 days he was gone! This waiting isn’t meant to be us twiddling our thumbs. Luther, if you knew God was returning tomorrow, plant an apple seed today. Many of us act as if our jobs are preventing us from pursuing holiness/godliness, the reality is those are the very places we’re supposed to be demonstrating holiness/godliness.

-Hastening: your holy and godly living “hastens” or “hurries” the coming of the day of God. Isn’t God sovereign and not dependent on us? Ties to the gospel being preached to the ends of the earth (Matt. 28). What do you think we’re asking when we pray the Lord’s prayer: your kingdom come your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. This is exactly what Jesus tells us to pray for!

-Day of God – connects to vs. 10

-His return demonstrates that this world isn’t all there is. Very violent/graphic! Is it destroyed or renewed?

-Why would someone want this day? Remember when we studied Amos, the prophet there said be careful if you ask for the day of the Lord because it means judgment is coming! This implies that the person asking is living a life of holiness and godliness, because if you’re not then, then don’t ask for that day to come! Related to that is a warning to the false teachers: since you’re NOT living a godly life you should be afraid of Jesus’ return! I.E. That which they’re convinced won’t happen will be the very thing that gets them in the end.

-His promise

-Because Jesus is the one who made the promise, it guarantees it will happen. This isn’t something I made up, wasn’t even made up by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins to make millions on their Left Behindbooks, this is something Jesus talked about during his ministry. Because Jesus talked about it, it’s a guarantee!

-Connects to vss. 8-9. Many people got tired of waiting for Jesus to come back, they thought it would be a lot sooner than the 20 years they’d been waiting (dude, now we’ve been waiting 2,000 years!) Our timeline tends to get skewed, God’s doesn’t! So we try to better align ourselves with His timing. Have you ever prayed for victory over certain sins, and decades later you’re still fighting them? Because we have eternity to grow, it may feel like forever!

-New heavens and a new earth: restored, renewed. “new in nature or quality” doesn’t have the idea of a completely new thing. Purifying! These new heavens and earth will be a place where:

-Righteousness – character trait of God. Connects us all the way back to the beginning of this book: “to those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ.” 

-Unlike this present age, in the age to come righteousness will “dwell” (root of the word is “house”). Connects to the grace and peace from 1:2. If we have “peace” we have righteousness dwelling eternally. We will in an eternally peaceful state, where the normal course of our lives are based in righteousness. Unfortunately, that time is not yet here.

  • Be Patient in Your Holiness (14-16)

-Therefore: because of all those other realities (Jesus is coming the need to live holy and godly lives), beloved: affection, endearment. It’s at time easy to read these verses as cold/distant/condemning. Peter means none of those things. This is a dear, close, intimate relationship. Peter cares for his readers, just as Jesus cares for us today! These words have the same familial connection to us as they did the first readers! We read this as God’s very words to us, through Peter.

-YOU here versus the WE in 13. Both of them are waiting, but Peter wants to remind his readers of something specific. While they’re waiting, they have a job: BE DILIGENT

-Active vs. passive waiting here. Continue working, remain faithful. This is where we today are setting the stage and laying a foundation for (Lord willing) generations of faithfulness here at South Suburban.

-Be found – This is the passive part! We can’t find ourselves, this is God unilaterally does! God calls, we respond. (Adam in the garden) How are we to be found?

-Without spot or blemish

-Remember I said back when we were in chpt. 2 to look down at this verse. Contrast to 2:13, the false teachers are referred to as “blots and blemishes.” This is a radical difference between the false teachers and the children of God.

-But this also connects to Peter 1st letter. 1 Peter 1:18-19 “you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.” What Peter is doing is saying our godliness, our holiness comes to us ONLY because we are connected to Christ. If we haven’t put our faith in Him, we’ll be blots and blemishes.

-At peace

-This idea keeps coming up! Because we’re in Christ, eternal peace is possible today. More than just the absence of conflict, everything is right!

-God’s patience (saw that in vs. 9) is meant to give us time for salvation. 4 aspects:

-This should cause us to look back in awe that we were saved (past tense) Rom. 8:24 “in this hope we were saved”

-There is also a present tense aspect of currently BEING saved 1 Cor. 15:2
“the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved.”

-There’s the future tense that when Christ returns we will be saved Rom. 10:9: “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”

-Because we are saved completely, in the past present and future, it compels us to mission/evangelism Rom. 2:4 “Or 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?” How will someone respond unless they hear about the good news of what Jesus has done on their behalf? Brother and sisters: only Christians can accomplish this task! This connects back to the “hastening” of the day of the Lord. We have a job to do diligently! God’s patience towards unbelief is temporary, his peace (or the flip side of bearing the brunt of no peace) is eternal.

-Here’s the reality: the church is meant to spread throughout the whole world. The mission originally given to Adam and Eve (fill the earth with God’s image) is now meant for the church. You don’t have missions without the church! Too often we have separated those 2 ideas as if they’re 2 radically different things. Church, we’re supposed to keep reproducing, making new churches, making disciples who make more disciples until the whole earth is full of people who image God. That was the mission of the early church and remains the mission of the church today! 

-Paul and Peter. Talks about him differently: beloved brother.

-Interesting relationship! Galatians issue. Gal. 2:11 “when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned.” No love lost there! Apparently there was some sort of reconciliation, and at times even the apostles needed to be confronted when their lives didn’t match their preaching.

-Notice the unity of Scripture here. What Peter says is what Paul says is what Jesus said. There is 1 message with a multitude of applications and ways to live out the truth.

-These letters being written and distributed among the early church are wisdom from God. The Nicene council didn’t invent the Bible being God’s Word or Scripture, the early church believed it!

-“Hard to understand” 

-This is one of the most important verses in this book. Underline it, highlight it, bold it on your phone, whatever you need to do. SOME OF THE BIBLE IS HARD TO UNDERSTAND. At least we’re not the only ones! Don’t you find it somewhat ironic that Peter says that, when we saw some weird stuff in chpt. 2?

-DOES NOT GET US OFF THE HOOK OF STUDYING! Peter doesn’t say they’re hard to understand, so don’t worry about it. This just means we actually have to apply ourselves to this the Bible to understand what it is God wants us to learn. This does not meant that therefore we can’t understand it! One author coined the phrase “the hermeneutical spiral” Hermeneutics is the way we understand something, but because the Bible is 1 book, as we grow in our understanding we move down the spiral to get more, deeper, and accurate understanding of what God is saying through His Word. And the more we learn of other parts it fills in some of the gaps in itself! Just because you may not understand something the Bible says doesn’t mean there isn’t a solution to your problem! You may need to open yourself up to others and maybe do a little work to figure out what the text is saying. 

-Part of the difficulty with the Bible being hard to understand is: those who are “ignorant” (unlearned) or “unstable” (weak) use these letters to twist (dislocating limbs for torture) the meaning. Just because people can (and do!) twist the Bible doesn’t mean the Bible is wrong! 

-Think about this: imagine you had a tape measure that you were using for house projects, but instead of having 12” in a foot you had 10”. How accurate would your readings be? Similarly, the true standard is the Bible, not whatever else you’re wanting to use, that’s twisting the Bible to fit your meanings. 

-Thankfully, those who twist the Scripture do so to their destruction. What kind of God’s Word would it be if He only ever said what we wanted Him to say. Who is God then? If you never find anything in the Bible that challenges you’re thinking, you need to do some evaluating about who your highest authority is. 

-Loki in the first Avengers “I am a GOD you dull creature, and I will not be bullied by…” “puny God” We are so often trying to make God into a “puny god” but that’s not how God works! He doesn’t conform to our image, we conform to His! 

-Don’t miss this last phrase: “the other Scriptures”

-Putting Paul’s letters on par with Scriptures. Another reminder that this wasn’t something invented by later Christians trying to come up with something to believe, this happened in the first century! 

  • Don’t Get Carried Away, Remain Rooted (17-18)

-Peter’s final exhortation, remember YOU, focusing on the readers

-Be careful to not carried away (rooted, good foundation, connected to God’s Word, our South Suburban arrow)

-Error of lawless people (first error they’re led the wrong way since they have no foundation, then they’re lawless (they have no rule to obey))

-Instead of living rootless and lawless, GROW! Roots planted deep mean you will have a fruitful life. This is the description we find in Psalm 1 a tree planted by a stream. What do we grow in?

-Grace – not just for our salvation, each breath we take is a grace, each day we have is a grace. Everything we have is a gift from God and is therefore a gift of His undeserving grace.

-Knowledge – you must grow in knowledge of God, revealed through His Word. God continues to speak to us, all we have to do is pick up and read!

-Ends with a benediction: 

-Everything we do and are is meant to glorify God (Westminster shorter catechism: what is the chief end of man?)

-Just because He’s coming back to make a new heavens and earth doesn’t mean his glory will be any less!

-Amen: let it be so.

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