Patient Hope

2 Peter 3:3-18

 SS Lesson for 05/26/2013

 

Devotional Scripture:  Rom 8:23-25

 

OUTLINE

 

Introduction

Overview and Approach to Lesson

The lesson teaches us how to have Patient Hope. The study's aim is to understand that Jesus delays His coming so that all people have further opportunity to be saved. The study's application is to rejoice now because Jesus is patient with us and brings us a new and certain hope.

 

Key Verse:  2 Peter 3:9

9 The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.

 

Commentary from Barnes Notes

 [The Lord is not slack concerning his promise] That is, it should not be inferred because His promise seems to be long delayed that therefore it will fail. When PEOPLE, after a considerable lapse of time, fail to fulfill their engagements, we infer that it is because they have changed their plans, or because they have forgotten their promises, or because they have no ability to perform them, or because there is a lack of principle which makes them fail, regardless of their obligations. But no such inference can be drawn from the apparent DELAY of the fulfillment of the divine purposes. Whatever may be the reasons why they seem to be deferred, with God, we may be sure that it is from no such causes as these.

 

[As some men count slackness] It is probable that the apostle here had his eye on some professing Christians who had become disheartened and impatient, and who, from the delay in regard to the coming of the Lord Jesus, and from the representations of those who denied the truth of the Christian religion, arguing from that delay that it was false, began to fear that his promised coming would indeed never occur. To such he says that it should not be inferred from his delay that he would not return, but that the delay should be regarded as an evidence of his desire that men should have space for repentance, and an opportunity to secure their salvation. See 2 Peter 3:15.

 

[But is long-suffering to us-ward] Toward us. The delay should be regarded as a proof of His forbearance, and of His desire that all human beings should be saved. Every sinner should consider the fact that he is not cut down in his sins, not as a proof that God will not punish the wicked, but as a demonstration that He is now forbearing, and is willing that he should have an ample opportunity to obtain eternal life. No one should infer that God will not execute His threats, unless he can look into the most distant parts of a coming eternity, and demonstrate that there is no suffering appointed for the sinner there; anyone who sins, and who is spared even for a moment, should regard the respite as only a proof that God is merciful and forbearing now.

 

[Not willing that any should perish] That is, He does not DESIRE it or WISH it. His nature is benevolent, and He sincerely desires the eternal happiness of all, and His patience toward sinners "proves" that He is willing that they should be saved. If He were not willing, it would be easy for Him to cut them off, and exclude them from hope immediately. This passage, however, should not be adduced to prove:

(1) that sinners never will in fact perish; because:

(a) the passage does not refer to what God will do as the final Judge of mankind, but to what are His feelings and desires now toward men.

(b) One may have a sincere desire that others should not perish, and yet it may be that, in entire consistency with that, they will perish. A parent has a sincere WISH that his children should not be punished, and yet he himself may be under a moral necessity to punish them. A lawgiver may have a sincere wish that no one should ever break the laws, or be punished, and yet he himself may build a prison, and construct a gallows, and cause the law to be executed in a most rigorous manner. A judge on the bench may have a sincere desire that no man should be executed, and that everyone arraigned before him should be found to be innocent, and yet even he, in entire accordance with that wish, and with a most benevolent heart, even with tears in his eyes, may pronounce the sentence of the law.

(c) It cannot be inferred that all that the heart of infinite benevolence would desire will be accomplished by his mere will. It is evidently as much in accordance with the benevolence of God that no one should be miserable in this world, as it is that no one should suffer in the next, since the difficulty is not in the question WHERE one shall suffer, but in the fact itself that ANY should suffer; and it is just as much in accordance with His nature that all should be happy here, as that they should be happy hereafter. And yet no man can maintain that the fact that God is benevolent proves that no one will suffer here. As little will that fact prove that none will suffer in the world to come.

(2) The passage should not be adduced to prove that God has no PURPOSE, and has formed no PLAN, in regard to the destruction of the wicked; because:

(a) the word here used has reference rather to His disposition, or to His nature, than to any act or plan.

(b) There is a sense, as is admitted by all, in which He does will the destruction of the wicked-to wit, if they do not repent-that is, if they deserve it.

(c) Such an act is as inconsistent with His general benevolence as an eternal purpose in the matter, since His eternal purpose can only have been to do what He actually does; and if it be consistent with a sincere desire that sinners should be saved to do this, then it is consistent to DETERMINE beforehand to do it-for to determine beforehand to do what is in fact right, can only be a lovely trait in the character of anyone.

(3) The passage then proves:

(a) that God has a sincere DESIRE that people should be saved;

(b) that any purpose in regard to the destruction of sinners is not founded on mere will, or is not arbitrary;

(c) that it would be agreeable to the nature of God, and to His arrangements in the plan of salvation, if all human beings should come to repentance, and accept the offers of mercy;

(d) that if any come to Him truly penitent, and desirous to be saved, they will not be cast off;

(e) that, since it is in accordance with His nature, that He should desire that all people may be saved, it may be presumed that He has made an arrangement by which it is possible that they should be; and

(f) that, since this is His desire, it is proper for the ministers of religion to OFFER salvation to every human being. Compare Ezek 33:11.

 

Approach to the Major Outlines in Lesson

The major outline of the lesson was inspired by the Bible Expositor and Illuminator while the sub-points cames from the points revealed by the study of the Scriptural text (see cross-reference below).

 

Verse

Phrase

Commentary

3

Scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts

Hope in Spite of Scoffers

5

They willfully forget

Scoffers error

7

Until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men

Scoffers judgment

12

Looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God

Hope Because of the Day of the Lord

9

The Lord is not slack

Reason for delay

10

The day of the Lord will come as

How the Day of the Lord will come

11

What manner of persons ought you to be

What to do until the Day of the Lord comes

14

Be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless

Hope Because of Sanctification

14

Be diligent

Be diligent

17

Beware lest you also fall

Be alert

18

Grow in the grace

Grow in grace

 

Lesson Background

From the NIV Standard Lesson Commentary

Our lifestyle reflects what Christ has already done, what Christ will do in the future, and who we are as a result. It has to do with how we think, how we speak, and how we act. Without exception, the new way of life is what the New Testament provides as the distinguishing mark of the Christian. That subject is the focus of today’s text. Today’s text takes us back to 1 Peter to address the situation faced by its original readers. They were subjects of the Roman Empire, living in places and a time when the Romans were increasingly hostile to Christianity. With some localized exceptions (such as in Acts 18:2), Roman hostility did not extend to Jews as such. Roman respect for Judaism is traced to decisions and actions of Emperor Julius Caesar, who died in 44 BC. Roman suspicion of Christians grew as the Romans began to realize that Christianity was a new faith, not just a subset of Judaism. The result was increasing persecution of Christians (see the Lesson Background to Lesson 10). This is probably why Peter refers to Rome by the code word “Babylon” in 1 Peter 5:13. Identity was important to these Christians. It was their identity that had created the trouble they were experiencing. Could they maintain that identity, expressing it consistently in the face of pressure to abandon it? Their challenge was to be true to their Lord. Their lives were to reflect what he had done and promised to do, not simply enduring the pressure that they faced.

 

Commentary from A Study By: Bob Deffinbaugh From the Series: Standing on the Promises-A Study of 2 Peter

Men do not enjoy waiting for anything, or anyone, including God. But the trust is men have been waiting on God all through history. Noah waited a good 100 years or so for the flood to come upon the earth (compare Genesis 5:32; 6:10; 7:6). Abraham and Sarah waited 25 years for the birth of the son God had promised them (compare Genesis 12:4; 21:5). Abraham did not even possess the promised land in his lifetime, and it was more than 400 years until his descendants took possession of it (compare Genesis 12:1-3; 15:12-16). Asaph felt for a time that he had waited too long for God’s promised blessings (Psalm 73). From their constant questions about the coming of our Lord’s kingdom, it was evident the disciples were not excited about waiting either. When Jesus tarried three days before going to the place Lazarus had fallen sick and died, both Martha and Mary cautiously chided Jesus for coming too late (see John 11:21, 32). God’s promises never come too late; in truth, they are never “late” at all. When the Scriptures indicate a time for God’s actions, the fulfillment is always precisely on time (see Exodus 12:40-41). When Jeremiah prophesied that Judah would be expelled from the land and held captive in Babylon for 70 years (Jeremiah 25:11-12), the fulfillment of this prophecy would take place precisely at the end of 70 years. Knowing this, Daniel prayed accordingly (Daniel 9:1-3ff.). Likewise, the birth of the Lord Jesus came about exactly on schedule (see Daniel 9:24-27; Romans 5:6; Galatians 4:4-5; 1 Timothy 2:5-6). God is never “late;” He is always “on time.” But there are mockers60 who seek to convince themselves and others that the promise of our Lord’s second coming is false based upon the passage of much time and compounded by no visible evidences that He will come at all. In the college classroom, students allow an instructor five minutes to arrive for class, and then they leave. A full professor, being more important, is given up to ten minutes to arrive after the bell has rung. Mockers believe they have given God plenty of time to fulfill His promise to return and thus have now concluded that His time is up. “If He hasn’t come by now,” they say, “He simply isn’t coming.”

 

In chapter 3 of his second epistle, Peter exposes these mockers, along with the folly of their denials. He does so by reiterating his commitment to remind his readers of the truths of the Scriptures as revealed through the Old Testament prophets, the Lord Jesus, and His apostles (3:1-2). Peter then describes the mockers of whom he warns his readers, both in terms of their lifestyle and their creed (3:3-4). Verses 5-7 he expose the folly of their thinking, especially as it relates to the role of the Word of God in Old Testament history and in prophecy.

Peter then turns his attention to the saints in verses 8-13. While mockers deny the Scriptures, true saints base their hope and their conduct on the promises of the Word of God. In verses 8 and 9, Peter gives a divine perspective of time and presents a very different explanation for the apparent delay of the Lord’s return. This he does by focusing on God’s attributes: His eternality, His omnipotence, and His mercy. In verses 10-13, Peter explains why the nearness of the “day of the Lord” is not evident to unbelievers and how the Lord’s return should impact the saints who look forward to the “new heavens and a new earth.” Verses 14-18 conclude this chapter and the entire epistle with some final exhortations to the saints regarding their relationship to the Scriptures.

 

Major Theme Analysis

(Scriptural Text from the New King James Version; cross-references from the NIV)

Hope In Spite of Scoffers  (2 Peter 3:3-7)

 

3 knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts,

4 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 creation."

5 For this they willfully forget: that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water,

6 by which the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water.

7 But the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word, are reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.

 

Scoffers attitude (3-4)

Why people might scoff (from the Bible Expositor and Illuminator)

There are many reasons why people might scoff at the idea of the Lord’s return. First, there have been uninformed date setters, who have failed to heed the warning of Scripture concerning this practice (Matt. 24:36; Acts 1:7; 1 Thess. 5:1-2). Because of this, the unsaved may begin to scoff at the very idea of Christ’s return. Peter, however, singled out another reason scoffers abound. It is because they are following their own evil desires. If, in fact, there is a Second Coming and a final judgment of sinners before the great white throne (Rev.  20:11-15), those outside of Christ will be eternally lost. Those living in an ungodly manner realize that if God’s Word is true, they are in deep trouble.  Rather than accept the truth of God’s Word, they scoff at its teachings.

Following their own evil desires (James 1:14-15)

14 but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. 15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.

Doubt (James 1:6-8)

6 But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7 That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.

Carnal security (Luke 12:16-20)

16 And he told them this parable: "The ground of a certain rich man produced a good crop. 17 He thought to himself, 'What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.' 18 "Then he said, 'This is what I'll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. 19 And I'll say to myself, "You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry." '  20 "But God said to him, 'You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?'

 

Scoffers error (5-6)

Forgetting God (Rom 1:28-32)

28 Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. 29 They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31 they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32 Although they know God's righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.

Discounting God's power (2 Tim 3:1-5)

3:1 But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. 2 People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4 treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God- 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them.

Spiritual ignorance  (1 Cor 2:14)

 14 The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.

 

Scoffers judgment (7)

God holds the unrighteous until judgment  (2 Peter 2:7-10)

8(for that righteous man, living among them day after day, was tormented in his righteous soul by the lawless deeds he saw and heard)- 9 if this is so, then the Lord knows how to rescue godly men from trials and to hold the unrighteous for the day of judgment, while continuing their punishment.   10 This is especially true of those who follow the corrupt desire of the sinful nature and despise authority.

Scoffers are storing up God's wrath  (Rom 2:5)

5 But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God's wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed.

God will punish those who do not know or obey Him  (2 Thess 1:5-9)

6 God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you 7 and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. 8 He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9 They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power

 

Hope Because of the Day of the Lord  (2 Peter 3:8-13)

 

8 But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.

9 The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.

10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up.

11 Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness,

12 looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat?

13 Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.

 

Reason for delay (8-9)

The primary reason for God not to bring immediate judgment upon sinners (from the Bible Expositor and Illuminator)

Peter identified God’s long-suffering, or patience, toward mankind as a primary reason for His decision not to bring immediate judgment upon sinners. As the psalmist asked, “If thou, Lord, shouldest mark iniquities, 0 Lord, who shall stand?” (Ps. 130:3).  Without God’s patience, we would all be consumed by His wrath. In spite of our sinfulness, God loves us and does not desire to see anyone perish. Even though Christ died for all (Rom 11:32; 2 Cor. 5:14-15; 1 Tim. 2:4; Heb. 2:9), only those who respond to His grace will secure the benefits of His sacrificial death (John 3:16-18; 6:44; 10:27-28; 1 Tim. 4:10).

Role of repentance in salvation  (from the Bible Expositor and Illuminator)

Since it is not God’s will for any to be lost, His desire is “that all should come to repentance” (II Pet. 3:9). Literally, the word translated “repentance” means “to change the mind” and refers to a decision to turn from sin and turn to God. “The repentance to which men are called is more than sorrow, though it includes that. It is more than a change of mind, though it includes that, it calls for a basic change of way” (Stagg, New Testament Theology, Broadman). Throughout the book of Acts, it is clear that repentance was required of those who surrendered to Christ (2:38; 3:19; 11:18; 17:30; 20:21; 26:20).  Though some may preach a plan of salvation that does not include repentance, none can receive pardon without this change of heart.

God's timing is not man's timing (Isa 55:8-9)

8 "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the LORD. 9 "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

God is not willing to let anyone perish (1 Tim 2:2-4)

3 This is good, and pleases God our Savior, 4 who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.

God keeps His promises

Because God's promises are guaranteed  (Rom 4:16)

16 Therefore, the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed to all Abraham's offspring-not only to those who are of the law but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham. He is the father of us all.

Because God has the power to do what He has promised  (Rom 4:21)

21 being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised.

Because God is faithful  (Heb 10:23)

23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.

God is patient (Ps 86:15)

15 But you, O Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.

 

The Day of the Lord

Judgment occurs and rewards are to be handed out (2 Tim 4:8)

8 Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day-and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.

Jesus will raise up His Church on that last day (John 6:39)

39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day.

God's good work in us will be completed on that day (Phil 1:6)

6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

This day as well as all days are the days that the Lord makes and we all should rejoice in them (Ps 118:24)

24 This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.

No one knows about the day or hour of the last day (Matt 24:36)

36 "No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.

Jesus will again drink of the fruit of the vine on that day (Matt 26:29)

29 I tell you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it anew with you in my Father's kingdom." 

We all should rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is our reward in heaven (Luke 6:23)

23 "Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven. For that is how their fathers treated the prophets.

Always be on the watch, and pray for that day (Luke 21:34-36)

34 "Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with dissipation, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you unexpectedly like a trap. 35 For it will come upon all those who live on the face of the whole earth. 36 Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man." 

We know whom we have believed, and am convinced that He is able to guard what we have entrusted to Him for that day (2 Tim 1:12)

12 That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet I am not ashamed, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day.

 

How the Day of the Lord will come (10)

Like a thief because we don't know when it will come  (Matt 24:42-44)

42 "Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. 43 But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. 44 So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.

It should not surprise us because we are a child of God  (1 Thess 5:1-6)

5:1 Now, brothers, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, 2 for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. 3 While people are saying, "Peace and safety," destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.  4 But you, brothers, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief. 5 You are all sons of the light and sons of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. 6 So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be alert and self-controlled.

It will come like destruction from the Almighty (Joel 1:15)

15 Alas for that day! For the day of the LORD is near; it will come like destruction from the Almighty. 

It will come and man will be doing normal daily activities  (Matt 24:37-40)

37 As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 38 For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; 39 and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.

When it comes saints will be raptured  (1 Cor 15:50-53)

51 Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed- 52 in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 53 For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality.

When it comes, all of God's work in us will be accomplished  (Phil 1:6)

6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

When it comes, the earth will be destroyed (Rev 21:1)

1 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea.

 

What to do until the Day of the Lord comes (11-13)

Be obedient   (Rev 3:3)

3 Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; obey it, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you.

Be holy  (1 Peter 1:14-16)

15 But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16 for it is written: "Be holy, because I am holy."  

Be godly  (Titus 2:11-13)

11 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. 12 It teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, 13 while we wait for the blessed hope-the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ,

Anticipate God's Kingdom  (Jude 1:21)

21 Keep yourselves in God's love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.

 

Hope Because of Sanctification  (2 Peter 3:14-18)

 

14 Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless;

15 and consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation -- as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you,

16 as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures.

17 You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked;

18 but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen.

 

Be diligent (14-16)

Be diligent in walking in a manner worthy of the calling of God  (Eph 4:1-3)

Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, 3 being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

Be diligent in Bible study  (2 Tim 2:15)

15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.

Be diligent in making certain God's calling and choosing us (2 Peter 1:10)

10 Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble;

Be diligent in doing what God has assigned us (Matt 24:45-46)

45 "Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the master has put in charge of the servants in his household to give them their food at the proper time? 46 It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns.

Be diligent in doing the work of God  (1 Cor 15:58)

58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.

Be diligent in gaining knowledge and discernment from God (Phil 1:9-11)

9 And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment,10 that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ,11 being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.

Be diligent in love for God and man  (1 Thess 3:11-13)

12 And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love to one another and to all, just as we do to you,13 so that He may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints.

 

Be alert (17)

Be alert about false prophets  (Matt 7:15)

15 "Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.

Be alert about deceptive and worldly doctrine  (Col 2:8)

8 See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.

Be alert about divisions and obstacles  (Rom 16:17)

17 I urge you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them.

Be alert and pray so that we will not yield into temptation  (Matt 26:41)

41 "Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak." 

Be alert about greed  (Luke 12:15)

 15 Then he said to them, "Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions." 

Be alert about being a stumbling block to others  (Luke 17:1-3)

17:1 Jesus said to his disciples: "Things that cause people to sin are bound to come, but woe to that person through whom they come. 2 It would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around his neck than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin. 3 So watch yourselves.

Be alert about our life and doctrine  (1 Tim 4:16)

16 Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.

 

Grow in grace (18)

Grow in grace through righteousness  (Ps 92:12-14)

12 The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon; 13 planted in the house of the LORD, they will flourish in the courts of our God. 14 They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green,

Grow in grace by growing into Jesus  (Eph 4:15-16)

15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. 16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.

Grow in grace through the knowledge of God  (Col 1:10)

10 And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God,

Grow in grace through faith (2 Thess 1:3)

3 We ought always to thank God for you, brothers, and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love every one of you has for each other is increasing.

Grow in grace through the Bible  (1 Peter 2:2)

2 Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation,

Grow in grace through the Holy Spirit  (Eph 1:17)

17 I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.

Grow in grace through pressing on toward God's goal for us (Phil 3:12-14)

13 Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

Grow in grace that is in Jesus (2 Tim 2:1)

1 You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.

 

Conclusion and Other Thoughts

Concluding Thoughts from Bob Deffinbaugh From the Series: Standing on the Promises--A Study of 2 Peter

First, our text tells us a lot about false teachers so that we can more readily recognize them—and then avoid them. False teachers will certainly deny and distort the Scriptures. One doctrine they will attack is the believer’s future hope. They will emphasize the here and now, and minimize, if not deny, the hereafter. Rather than exhorting us to live now in the light of eternity, they will encourage us to live for the present, as though there were no eternity, and indulge the flesh. They will surely deny the Scriptural teaching of divine judgment. Their teaching is but a thinly veiled excuse for their own self-indulgent lifestyle. They are those who “follow after their own lusts” (2 Peter 3:3). These false teachers seem to have far more questions than answers. And the very things which should cause them to trust God and praise Him are the things for which they accurse Him. Turning reality upside-down, when the Lord tarries graciously, giving men the opportunity to repent, these mockers accuse God of forsaking or at least failing to fulfill His promises. And when the world (and the universe) continues to function in the way it has since creation, they do not praise the Lord for sustaining it (see Colossians 1:16-17) but condemn Him for not giving any spectacular indications that the end is near. Ironically, even the presence of these false teachers is one of the indications that we are in the “last days” (see 3:3). This text has so much to teach the Christian. Peter not only instructs us about false teachers, he also repeatedly reminds us of the truth. To Peter, as should be so for us, the Scriptures are foundational and fundamental. In both of his epistles, he turns our attention to the truths of the Word of God, truths which have been consistently taught by the Old Testament prophets, the Lord Jesus, and His apostles (3:1-2). It is the Word of God which false teachers attack and deny (3:3-7); if they cannot do this, they will attempt to distort them (3:14-16). To Peter, the Scriptures are absolutely vital to Christian growth and stability. They are the source of divine revelation. They are the standard to which all teaching and practice must conform. They are absolutely sufficient, providing the believer with “everything pertaining to life and godliness.” They are the basis for our faith and hope and the believer’s sole source of revelation concerning the future. They speak of the Lord’s return to judge the wicked and destroy the existing creation. They speak as well of the glorious kingdom He will establish after this. As the basis for our faith and hope, the Scriptures also give us a perspective which enables us to see through the distortions and deceptions of this world. We do not view the truths of the Word of God through the cloudy eyes of our culture or of this age. Indeed not! We view this age through the clear-eyed perspective of the Scriptures. The world is not as it seems; reality is revealed through the light of the Scriptures. The prophecies of Scripture play a significant role in the life of the believer. They reveal all that we can now know about the future and assure us the Lord will return to this earth to judge the wicked and to establish His kingdom. The Scriptures stimulate us to godliness, knowing how God will deal with sin and its effects. Prophecy should also motivate us to evangelize, knowing the time is short and that sinners will suffer the eternal wrath of God. Prophecy informs us that materialism is folly, for all the things of this world will be burned up. Only God’s Word and people will endure for eternity, and these must be our priorities. Prophecy enables us to deny ourselves and to endure persecution for the sake of the gospel, for these cannot compare to the glory which lies ahead.

 

Our text also shows us the relationship between time and eternity. A long time may have passed, but it is put into its proper perspective when seen in the light of eternity. Time is our opportunity to enter into eternal life and to invest our lives for eternity. It is also our opportunity to tell others of the salvation God has provided through Christ. This passage underscores the importance of viewing life from the vantage point of the character of God. The attributes of God are not abstract theological assertions of truth; they are the ultimate basis for our faith and hope. Prophecies (the promises of God) are of little value if God is not sovereign and omnipotent (all-powerful) and able to bring them to pass. Promises made centuries ago would have little value unless they were made by an eternal God, who is not bound by the limits of time. And a delay of centuries would seem to be cause for concern unless we view it from the standpoint of God’s patience, His mercy, and His grace. Indeed, the attributes of God are no mere propositions; they are the description of the nature and character of the God whom we worship and serve. When life brings difficulties which seem to have no answers (even clear, biblical ones), we may rest confidently in who God is and what He is like. We see this often in the Psalms where the psalmist frequently cries out to God, presenting his problems, and lamenting no solution. But in the final analysis, the psalmist finds comfort and consolation in who God is, and thus he trusts in God and worships Him even though his immediate problems may remain. The great question in life is, “Whom do you trust?” We see from the attributes of God that we can only trust God.

Practical Points from the Bible Expositor and Illuminator

1.      We should never be rattled by scoffers; they are simply fulfilling Scripture (2 Pet. 3:3-4)

2.      The willful ignorance of unbelievers keeps them totally unprepared for the coming judgment (vs. 5-7)

3.      The Lord operates on His own time schedule; our part is simply to stay ready (vs. 8-10)

4.      Attachment to this world is foolish in light of its coming destruction (vs. 11-12)

5.      Setting our minds on the new creation will help us be ready for it (vs. 13-15)