Lesson 9 - Chapter 3: 1 - 4

Lesson 9 - Chapter 3: 1 - 4

Lesson for September 22, 2013

The Book of II Peter

Chapter 3:1-4

Verse 1-2

This is now, beloved, the second letter I am writing to you in which I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder, that you should remember the words spoken beforehand by the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior spoken by your apostles.

Peter was reminding these believers that this was the second letter in which he intended to stir up their minds. Peter intended to accomplish this by reminding them of the teachings of both the Old Testament prophets and the teachings of the New Testament apostles. The Greek word for stir up is “diegeiro,” which means to awaken, to excite or to arouse. Sincere is the Greek word “eilikrines. “Eili” means sunshine; “krines”means to judge. So it means to judge something by putting it up to the sun to see if it has any impurities in it. In this case the sunlight refers to doctrine. A believer is to judge everything on the basis of Bible doctrine, so it means a doctrinal mind. So to have a doctrinal thought pattern means to have Bible doctrine functioning in the frame of reference, in the norms and standards, and in vocabulary categories. What makes this chapter meaningful is having certain doctrines already stored in their souls.

Remember is the Greek word “mimnesko,” meaning to recall doctrine already in the frame of reference, in the memory center, doctrine by way of vocabulary and categories already residing there and doctrine in our norms and standards. You cannot always bring your textbook to the class and copy the answers to an examination. You are required to answer from what you have stored in your mind. This word means to recall what you have. In other words, from the day you believed in the Lord Jesus Christ and started to take in doctrine, all that doctrine sooner or later adds up to an examination. You don’t realize it but you are in the process of taking examinations all the time. Our daily intake of Bible doctrine is going to be tested and we are not always going to be able to go to the textbook. And if we did, it wouldn’t mean anything, it wouldn’t be helpful. At best it would be some superficial comfort from some verse that is recalled. So you must have in your soul a “doctrinal package” and the memory center is especially important because it brings to your mind at various points information that you need for something in your life. Peter is telling us that the greatest asset we have in life is the amount of Bible doctrine we have accumulated in our souls.

Spoken is the Greek word “prolego,” which refers to the fact that you have taken in doctrine before. The prophets received doctrine in many forms; through dreams, visions, conversations, etc. They are called “holy prophets” because they were those set apart by God to write the Old Testament Canon. They were under the authority of the Holy Spirit. Every New Testament book was written either by an apostle or by one closely associated with an apostle. Mark was not an apostle. Peter apparently dictated the gospel to Mark. The same thing is true of Luke who was not an apostle but associated with Paul and therefore became his historian. Outside of Mark and Luke every writer of the New Testament is an apostle. They are called “the apostles of the Lord” to distinguish them from the Old Testament writers. Their writings are what we are to remember, we are to learn them so we can recall them and they are what we are to saturate our souls with. The feeding of your soul is more important than the feeding of your body.

Verses 3-4

Knowing this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts, and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming?” For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation.”

In the last days, the Greek word “eschatos,” is used for “last” plus the future tense means two things are occurring simultaneously. The Church Age which began in 30 AD has continued up to now and is more intense than it was in 30 AD. This passage is saying that the closer we get to the Rapture of the Church, the more intense the Angelic Conflict becomes. Part of this intensity will be those who mock the Second Coming of Christ.

The Greek word for mockers is “empaiktes,” which means to scoff at something or someone. Mocking is the Greek word “empaizo” meaning to play with, to trifle with or to scoff at. These are people who challenge the veracity of God as stated through written revelation of the Bible. Their number increases as the Church Age continues. They pick some particular point of the Word of God which is being declared faithfully by pastor-teachers and they say: Where is this thing? Or if they are unbelievers and familiar with some system of theology, as Jewish unbelievers were in Peter’s day, they attacked the Second Coming of Jesus Christ at which time Christ will fulfill all of the unconditional promises to Israel. Therefore they say: “Where is the promise of His coming?” God is not on man’s timetable. When it comes to future events,no one knows the time God has designated including Christ’s second coming.

These mockers follow their own evil desires disregarding God’s desires. Their argument for “eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow you die” is that nothing has changed since the beginning of time, meaning Jesus Christ has not appeared and destroyed their enemies and established His throne on earth. So, some of them erroneously concluded that Christ had not appeared in the flesh, some concluded wrongly that Christ appeared as a spirit not in bodily form, and some denied His very existence. Therefore, they will continue to mock His coming until the end of their age: Age of Israel, Church Age or Tribulation. We have these mockers in our world today and many will follow their path of destruction.

All of this mocking is an attack upon the veracity of God. “Where is the promise?” is a reference to the promise to Israel of the Second Coming of the Messiah where He sets up His kingdom on Earth (the Millennium). The Second Coming cannot occur until the body of Christ is completed, climaxed by the Rapture and the Second Coming cannot occur until the Age of Israel is completed at the end of the Tribulation. Peter not only declares the validity of the Second Coming, but he also declares other future events. Peter started out by showing how the mockers have scoffed at the character of God but the very stability of the character of God will result in the destruction of these scoffers in a dramatic way as we will see in the following verses.

The scoffers will suggest that since the promise of the Second Coming has not been fulfilled that God does not interfere or care about the affairs of men. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact this blasphemous assertion ignores not only the Cross of Christ, but it denies the divine provision of grace for believers in time and in eternity and the ministry of God the Holy Spirit to unbelievers in drawing them to faith in Christ.

Jesus Christ was judged for all sin, imputed, inherent and personal. He paid the penalty by His substitutionary spiritual death on the Cross. (Matthew 27:26; John 19:30) Mankind is born with a free will (volition). Salvation is always a matter of personal choice and cannot be forced or coerced in any way. God is not willing that any person should perish without Christ. For this reason, God constantly pursues the unbeliever. Anyone can have eternal life if that person chooses to believe in Christ. God extends this invitation to everyone. Those who choose the salvation solution inherit eternal life.

The ministries of the Holy Spirit are not seen or felt. They are facts stated in God’s Word for us to believe. Only by examining God’s Word can a believer truly understand the Holy Spirit and His role in our lives and the lives of others.

The ministry of God the Holy Spirit is a doctrine we must understand, believe and experience in order to execute the Victorious Christian Way of Life. Left alone, a believer has no power to fulfill his spiritual destiny of becoming a winner and glorifying Christ. As with everything in the Christian life, it is only potential – a believer must use positive volition to choose God’s plan of action. We have been given a perfect blueprint by a perfect God for the building of a perfect spiritual life that is beyond compare.

The question we must ask ourselves is whether or not we are going to live according to God’s system for success. If not, the alternative is to continue down the road of self-absorption that leads to self- induced misery and unhappiness. As a casualty of the spiritual life, you will no longer be effective, productive or profitable to the kingdom of God. Instead, you will have become useless, powerless, your spiritual life is null and void and you have lined up with Satan’s program.

The only way that we, as believers, are going to be truly happy and glorify God, is to do things God’s way. This means setting aside all preconceived ideas about the Christian life, personal prejudices, pettiness, complaining attitudes, unkindness, hurtful thoughts, words and actions, or anything else that drags us down to the world’s level of Human Viewpoint Thinking. It also means getting our eyes off other people who aren’t good examples of victorious Christians and keeping our eyes on Christ.

We need to spend a maximum amount of time in fellowship with God under the control of God the Holy Spirit learning and applying Bible doctrine, which will produce Divine Viewpoint Thinking. What does God think about people? It should be obvious since He sent His Son as a payment for the sins of the world. If God loves everyone unconditionally, shouldn’t we do the same? This means we must develop our spiritual lives with God and our Christian lives with our fellowman, through study and application of His Word. This means following the example of our Savior in every area of our lives.

Did Jesus have evil thoughts about anyone? Did He complain about His lot in life? Did he talk badly about anyone? Did He backbite, slander or gossip about anyone? Of course He didn’t do any of these things. He forgave the people that hurt Him the most, He never exchanged evil for evil, He never sought revenge, He didn’t slander people, He never had a hurtful thought, word or action and He exhibited love for everyone regardless of how they treated Him. This is the kind of character that we should be allowing God the Holy Spirit to develop in us so that we can live a victorious Christian life.

One of the ministries of God the Holy Spirit is to convince mankind of its need for the Savior, Jesus Christ. He accomplishes this in many ways. Sometimes He uses people, circumstances, and sometimes He even uses an unbeliever or an out-of-fellowship believer to expose the truth. One thing is certain, God the Holy Spirit will always do His job. If a person is positive at “God consciousness,” the Holy Spirit will provide enough information to that person in order for them to trust Christ as Savior. At Gospel hearing the Holy Spirit makes the message understandable so that a person can accept God’s gift of eternal life.

God has certainly not abandoned mankind as these scoffers will assert. God has always been fully engaged in the lives of human beings as Peter will show us in the following verses. The idea that some support and teach that God created man and then left him to his own devices is false. God’s grace toward all mankind has always been operational and will continue to be throughout all eternity.