1845.) 2 Peter 3

May 27, 2016

HOPE for growing Christians!

2 Peter 3 (English Standard Version)

The Day of the Lord Will Come

1This is now the second letter that I am writing to you, beloved. In both of them I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder, 2 that you should remember the predictions of the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior through your apostles, 3knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. 4 They will say, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.” 5For they deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God,

Genesis 1:9 (NIV)

And God said, “Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear.” And it was so.

6and that by means of these the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished. 7But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.

“How Blest Are They Who Hear God’s Word”
by Johan N. Brun, 1745-1816
Translated by Oluf H. Smeby, 1851-1929

How blest are they who hear God’s Word
And keep and heed what they have heard!
They wisdom daily gather;
Their light shines brighter day by day,
And while they tread life’s weary way,
They have the oil of gladness
To soothe their pain and sadness.

God’s Word a treasure is to me,
Through sorrow’s night my sun shall be,
The shield of faith in battle.
The Father’s hand hath written there
My title as His child and heir,
“The kingdom’s thine forever.”
That promise faileth never.

Today I was my Savior’s guest,
My soul was here so richly blest,
The Bread of Life receiving.
Oh, may thereby my faith prevail,
So that its fruits shall never fail
Till my account is given
Before the throne in heaven!

8But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 9 The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.

Hebrews 10:37 (NIV)

   “In just a little while,
   he who is coming will come
   and will not delay.”

10But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.

11Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness,

from Experiencing God Day-by-Day,
by Henry T. Blackaby and Richard Blackaby

WHAT MANNER OF PERSON OUGHT YOU TO BE?

When God told Abraham He was going to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah, Abraham’s life was immediately and radically affected. Noah could not carry on business as usual once he knew what God was planning for his generation. Knowing that God is preparing judgment brings a sobering reality to Christians, helping us recognize what is eternally significant and what is not.

Peter cautions us that a catastrophic time of judgments is coming. On the day of the Lord there will be a great noise, and the elements will melt with a fervent heat. On that day, he warns, the earth will be consumed. Peter assures us that this is not mere speculation; it is certain and imminent. He then asks the crucial question that applies to each generation:  “What kind of persons ought you to be?” With judgment pending for us and countless millions of people facing destruction, how should we live our lives?

Many Christians attach great value to temporal things. Hobbies and possessions consume us, leaving little time or energy to invest in what is eternal. More than anyone else, Christians should be sensitive to the times in which we live. Since Christ has been long-suffering in his return so that no one might perish (2 Peter 3:9), should we not invest our effort in building God’s eternal kingdom? Should there not be an urgency about us to complete the tasks that God gives us?

12 waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! 13But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.

Final Words

14 Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace. 15And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, 16as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters.

St. Peter and St. Paul both were eventually imprisoned in the famous Mamertine Prison of Rome and each had foreseen his approaching death. Saint Peter was crucified; Saint Paul, a Roman citizen, was slain by the sword. As Christ died for them, they lived for him.  Now in the 21st century, God grant us grace to follow Christ wherever he leads us!

There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures. 17You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability.

The better we know Jesus, the less attractive false teaching will be.

–Life Application Bible note

18But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.

Peter signature

 

 

 

 

 

_________________________

Music:

Yes, Lord, I do want to grow in the grace and knowledge of you, and truly be a witness to the love of Christ in the world!  HERE  is “Lord, I Want to Be a Christian.”  I think I will sing this song all day long!

_________________________

English Standard Version (ESV)   The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.

Images courtesy of:
2 Peter title.  http://calvarychapelsavinggrace.com/teachings/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/2_peter_title.jpg
Word of God.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2012/01/picture2.jpg
Live well.   http://www.allposters.com/IMAGES/WIL/5393_Live_Well.jpg
St. Peter and St. Paul, by El Greco.   http://media.photobucket.com/image/St.%20Peter%20and%20St.%20Paul,%20El%20Greco/skimac/StPaulPeter-ElGreco.jpg
Peter signature.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2009/08/5-peter_signature.gif?w=114&h=111
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1844.) 2 Peter 2

May 26, 2016

DANGER to growing Christians!

2 Peter 2 (English Standard Version)

False Prophets and Teachers

1But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction.

Even as there were holy men of God who spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:21), so also there were false prophets – and false teachers today. Peter stated this as a fact and not as a possibility; and he said they were among you, not only on the outside of the church.

“There were not only holy men of God among the Jews, who prophesied by divine inspiration, but there were also false prophets, whose prophecies were from their own imagination, and perverted many.”   — Adam Clarke

 False teachers work secretly. It isn’t that their teaching is secret, but the deceptive nature of their teaching is hidden. No false teacher ever announces himself as a false teacher.

 False teachers bring in destructive heresies that destroy by telling lies about Jesus Christ and His work for us and in us. By these heresies people are hurt and destroyed. Heresy isn’t harmless.

— David Guzik

2And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed. 3And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep. 4For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to chains of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgment; 5if he did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a herald of righteousness, with seven others, when he brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly; 6if by turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes he condemned them to extinction, making them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly;

These three examples of judgment show us the important principle that Peter wants to highlight.

  • God judged the angels who sinned, so no one is too high to be judged.
  • God judged the ancient world before the flood, so God doesn’t grade on a curve.
  • God judged Sodom and Gomorrah, so even the prosperous can be judged.

Therefore, what makes the ungodly think they can escape God’s judgment? Their coming judgment is certain. As Jesus said in Luke 10:10-12, for those who reject the truth it will be more tolerable in that Day for Sodom.

 — David Guzik

7and if he rescued righteous Lot, greatly distressed by the sensual conduct of the wicked 8(for as that righteous man lived among them day after day, he was tormenting his righteous soul over their lawless deeds that he saw and heard); 9then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials,

“St. Peter freed by an angel” -by Jusepe de Ribera (1639)

Peter, as much as anyone, knew how true it is that “the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials,” because the Lord had sent an angel to jail to bring Peter out (Acts 12).

and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment, 10and especially those who indulge in the lust of defiling passion and despise authority.

Bold and willful, they do not tremble as they blaspheme the glorious ones, 11 whereas angels, though greater in might and power, do not pronounce a blasphemous judgment against them before the Lord. 12 But these, like irrational animals, creatures of instinct, born to be caught and destroyed, blaspheming about matters of which they are ignorant, will also be destroyed in their destruction, 13suffering wrong as the wage for their wrongdoing. They count it pleasure to revel in the daytime. They are blots and blemishes, reveling in their deceptions, while they feast with you. 14They have eyes full of adultery, insatiable for sin. They entice unsteady souls. They have hearts trained in greed. Accursed children!

Let’s talk about sin.

He that falls into sin is a man; that grieves at it, is a saint; that boasteth of it, is a devil.
–Thomas Fuller

I would rather die than do something which I know to be a sin, or to be against God’s will.
–Joan of Arc

You sin in thinking bad about people — but, often, you guess right.
–Giulio Andreotti

Sorrow is held the eldest child of sin.
–John Webster

15Forsaking the right way, they have gone astray. They have followed the way of Balaam, the son of Beor, who loved gain from wrongdoing, 16but was rebuked for his own transgression; a speechless donkey spoke with human voice and restrained the prophet’s madness.

Balaam was hired by a pagan king to curse the people of Israel.  For a while he refused, out of obedience to God — but eventually his greed overpowered him:  “he loved gain from wrongdoing.”  His donkey had to try to talk sense into him!

17 These are waterless springs and mists driven by a storm. For them the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved.

Jude 1:12 (NIV)

These people are blemishes at your love feasts, eating with you without the slightest qualm—shepherds who feed only themselves. They are clouds without rain, blown along by the wind; autumn trees, without fruit and uprooted—twice dead.

18For, speaking loud boasts of folly, they entice by sensual passions of the flesh those who are barely escaping from those who live in error. 19They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption. For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved. 20For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. 21For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them.

Christians warmly debate the issue of whether or not it is possible for a true Christian to ever lose their status as a true Christian and fall away to damnation. Perhaps the best way of understanding the issue is to say that it is certainly true that those who appear saved – those who fit the description of Peter here – can end up in a place where it would have been better for them not have known the way of righteousness.

Regarding these, those with a Reformed perspective will say that they were actually never saved; those with an Arminian perspective will say that they were actually saved and lost their salvation. To divide along the lines of this debate – which focuses on things that are unknowable to outside observation – seems to fall into the category of being obsessed with disputes and arguments over words, as in 1 Timothy 6:4.

–David Guzik

22What the true proverb says has happened to them: “The dog returns to its own vomit, and the sow, after washing herself, returns to wallow in the mire.”

_________________________

Music:

Ick! I don’t want to return to my vomit!  Leave the past and all its sin alone!  Instead, “Take me to the cross again,” for there is where I see most clearly Christ’s redeeming love and find my new life. Listen and rejoice  HERE.

_________________________

English Standard Version (ESV)   The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.

Images courtesy of:
2 Peter title.  http://calvarychapelsavinggrace.com/teachings/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/2_peter_title.jpg
heresy stamp.  https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2012/01/heresystamp1.png
de Ribera.   http://render.fineartamerica.com/images/rendered/medium/greeting-card/images-medium-5/saint-peter-freed-by-an-angel-jusepe-de-ribera.jpg
apple.  http://school.discoveryeducation.com/clipart/images/apl-bite.gif
Balaam and his donkey.   http://fc05.deviantart.net/fs71/i/2010/248/f/5/balaam_and_talking_donkey_by_miguel0100-d2y3rmu.jpg
eternal security.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2012/01/eternalsecurity.jpg

1843.) 2 Peter 1

May 25, 2016

GUIDANCE for growing Christians!

2 Peter 1 (English Standard Version)

The date and destination of this letter are uncertain, and the authorship has been disputed. Because of this, 2 Peter was the last book admitted to the canon of the New Testament Scripture.

In an culture that places decreasing value on God’s Word as “the” single authority of truth, Peter’s second letter is a timely series of reminders to help followers of Jesus guard against false teaching that proliferates in a truthless society.

Greeting

1Simeon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ,

To those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ:

2 May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.

Make Your Calling and Election Sure

3His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, 4by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises,

“He tells us too, that faith is ‘precious;’ and is it not precious? For it deals with precious things, with precious promises, with precious blood, with a precious redemption, with all the preciousness of the person of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”

— Charles Haddon Spurgeon

from Whispers of His Power,
by Amy Carmichael

Exceeding great and precious promises. — 2 Peter 1:4

“Promises precious and supreme,” “precious and wondrous,” “precious and very great.” To read the different translations is like turning a jewel in the light. Each turn shows some new beauty.

In the end we shall find every promise perfectly fulfilled. Then why should we not let our hearts rest in peace about everything that happens? For nothing can happen that can break a single one of these precious and exceeding great, supreme, and wondrous promises.

What depth it gives to Peter’s words when we remember that he was to die by crucifixion, and knew it. There is no promise of an easy passage, but there are countless promises for every day of the voyage, and for a welcome when He brings us to our desired haven (as Psalm 107:30 puts it).

Let us take one promise for our own today, live on it it, test it and prove it — and thank Him for it.

so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.

Galatians 4:4-7 (NIV)

But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law,  to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship.  Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.”  So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.

.

5For this very reason, make every effort (= giving all diligence!) to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, 6and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, 7and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. 8For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins.

10Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to make your calling and election sure, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. 11For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

“There are two ways of entering a port. A ship may come in, waterlogged and crazy, just kept afloat by continual working at the pumps; or it may enter with every sail set, her pennon floating at the mast-head. The latter is what the apostle desires for himself and those who he addresses. He desired that an entrance abundant should be ministered unto them.

“An ‘abundant entrance’ was really a choral entrance. The idea was of a Roman conqueror coming into his city, welcomed by singers and musicians who would join him in a glorious, happy procession into the city.

“Will your entrance into heaven be like that? Will you enter it, saved so as by fire, or to receive a reward? Will you come unrecognized and unknown, or be welcomed by scores and hundreds to whom you have been the means of blessing, and who will wait you?”

— F. B. Meyer

12Therefore I intend always to remind you of these qualities, though you know them and are established in the truth that you have.

A sports team going for the championship will practice the same fundamentals over and over again. They do this, even thought they know the techniques, because they know what is at stake. (Although when my husband watches sports on television, I often hear him getting irked by the carelessness of players regarding the basics that even kids ought to know!) In the same way, we Christians should never get tired of hearing and reviewing the rudiments of the Christian life. 

13I think it right, as long as I am in this body, to stir you up by way of reminder, 14 since I know that the putting off of my body will be soon, as our Lord Jesus Christ made clear to me. 15And I will make every effort so that after my departure you may be able at any time to recall these things.

Established is the same word translated strengthen in Luke 22:32, when Jesus told Peter “when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.” Here, Peter fulfilled that command of Jesus. He would establish and strengthen us by reminding us of the basics of the Christian life.

–David Guzik

Christ’s Glory and the Prophetic Word

16For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. 17For when he received honor and glory from God the Father, and the voice was borne to him by the Majestic Glory, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased,” 18we ourselves heard this very voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain.

Mark 9:2-8 (NLT)

The Transfiguration

Six days later Jesus took Peter, James, and John, and led them up a high mountain to be alone. As the men watched, Jesus’ appearance was transformed,  and his clothes became dazzling white, far whiter than any earthly bleach could ever make them. Then Elijah and Moses appeared and began talking with Jesus.

Peter exclaimed, “Rabbi, it’s wonderful for us to be here! Let’s make three shelters as memorials—one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” He said this because he didn’t really know what else to say, for they were all terrified.

Then a cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my dearly loved Son. Listen to him.”  Suddenly, when they looked around, Moses and Elijah were gone, and they saw only Jesus with them.

19And we have something more sure, the prophetic word, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts,

Morning Star so radiant and holy
Shine on me in my great hour of need
Jesus Christ so beautiful and lovely
Shine over me

20knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. 21For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

_________________________

Music:

How grateful I am for Scripture, a love letter from God which illuminates my way through all of life’s vicissitudes and helps guide me to eternal life.   HERE  “Thy Word”  is sung by the Maranatha Singers.

_________________________

English Standard Version (ESV)   The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.

Images courtesy of:
2 Peter title.  http://calvarychapelsavinggrace.com/teachings/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/2_peter_title.jpg
precious promises.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2012/01/2-peter1-4-precious-sm.jpg
pyramid.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2012/01/marriagemountain.gif
sailing into port (Cleveland Tall Ships Festival 2010).    http://www.examiner.com/images/blog/replicate/EXID37922/images/575-100707_3CS8090.jpg
Transfiguration.   http://www.gerhardy.id.au/images/transfiguration2.jpg
morning star.   http://www.torchleader.com/tl/3975199949_668c3575ff.jpg

708.) 2 Peter 3

January 18, 2012

HOPE for growing Christians!

2 Peter 3 (English Standard Version)

The Day of the Lord Will Come

1This is now the second letter that I am writing to you, beloved. In both of them I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder, 2 that you should remember the predictions of the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior through your apostles, 3knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. 4 They will say, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.” 5For they deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God,

Genesis 1:9 (New International Version)

And God said, “Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear.” And it was so.

6and that by means of these the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished. 7But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.

“How Blest Are They Who Hear God’s Word”
by Johan N. Brun, 1745-1816
Translated by Oluf H. Smeby, 1851-1929

How blest are they who hear God’s Word
And keep and heed what they have heard!
They wisdom daily gather;
Their light shines brighter day by day,
And while they tread life’s weary way,
They have the oil of gladness
To soothe their pain and sadness.

God’s Word a treasure is to me,
Through sorrow’s night my sun shall be,
The shield of faith in battle.
The Father’s hand hath written there
My title as His child and heir,
“The kingdom’s thine forever.”
That promise faileth never.

Today I was my Savior’s guest,
My soul was here so richly blest,
The Bread of Life receiving.
Oh, may thereby my faith prevail,
So that its fruits shall never fail
Till my account is given
Before the throne in heaven!

_________________________

8But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 9 The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.

Hebrews 10:37 (New International Version)

   “In just a little while,
   he who is coming will come
   and will not delay.”

10But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.

11Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness,

from Experiencing God Day-by-Day,
by Henry T. Blackaby and Richard Blackaby

WHAT MANNER OF PERSON OUGHT YOU TO BE?

When God told Abraham He was going to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah, Abraham’s life was immediately and radically affected.  Noah could not carry on business as usual once he knew what God was planning for his generation.  Knowing that God is preparing judgment brings a sobering reality to Christians, helping us recognize what is eternally significant and what is not.

Peter cautions us that a catastrophic time of judgments is coming.  On the day of the Lord there will be a great noise, and the elements will melt with a fervent heat.  On that day, he warns, the earth will be consumed.  Peter assures us that this is not mere speculation; it is certain and imminent.  He then asks the crucial question that applies to each generation:  “What kind of persons ought you to be?”  With judgment pending for us and countless millions of people facing destruction, how should we live our lives?

Many Christians attach great value to temporal things.  Hobbies and possessions consume us, leaving little time or energy to invest in what is eternal.  More than anyone else, Christians should be sensitive to the times in which we live.  Since Christ has been long-suffering in his return so that no one might perish (2 Peter 3:9), should we not invest our effort in building God’s eternal kingdom?  Should there not be an urgency about us to complete the tasks that God gives us?

_________________________

12 waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! 13But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.

Final Words

14 Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace. 15And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, 16as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters.

St. Peter and St. Paul both were eventually imprisoned in the famous Mamertine Prison of Rome and each had foreseen his approaching death.  Saint Peter was crucified; Saint Paul, a Roman citizen, was slain by the sword.  As Christ died for them, they lived for him.  Now in the 21st century, God grant us grace to follow Christ wherever he leads us!

_________________________

There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures. 17You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability.

The better we know Jesus, the less attractive false teaching will be.

–Life Application Bible note

18But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.

_________________________

Music:

Yes, Lord, I do want to grow in the grace and knowledge of you, and truly be a witness to the love of Christ in the world!  “Lord, I Want to Be a Christian.”  Think I will sing this song all day long!

_________________________

English Standard Version (ESV)   The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.

Images courtesy of:
Word of God.   http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_Fxz3WVgXGD0/TF_rV6VA2wI/AAAAAAAABHY/c5IbYXwaGHU/s320/Picture2.jpg
Live well.   http://www.allposters.com/IMAGES/WIL/5393_Live_Well.jpg
St. Peter and St. Paul, bu El Greco.   http://media.photobucket.com/image/St.%20Peter%20and%20St.%20Paul,%20El%20Greco/skimac/StPaulPeter-ElGreco.jpg

707. 2 Peter 2

January 17, 2012

DANGER to growing Christians!

2 Peter 2 (English Standard Version)

False Prophets and Teachers

1But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction.

Even as there were holy men of God who spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:21), so also there were false prophets – and false teachers today. Peter stated this as a fact and not as a possibility; and he said they were among you, not only on the outside of the church.

“There were not only holy men of God among the Jews, who prophesied by divine inspiration, but there were also false prophets, whose prophecies were from their own imagination, and perverted many.”   — Adam Clarke

 False teachers work secretly. It isn’t that their teaching is secret, but the deceptive nature of their teaching is hidden. No false teacher ever announces himself as a false teacher.

 False teachers bring in destructive heresies that destroy by telling lies about Jesus Christ and His work for us and in us. By these heresies people are hurt and destroyed. Heresy isn’t harmless.

— David Guzik

_________________________

2And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed. 3And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep. 4For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to chains of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgment; 5if he did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a herald of righteousness, with seven others, when he brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly; 6if by turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes he condemned them to extinction, making them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly;

These three examples of judgment show us the important principle that Peter wants to highlight.

  • God judged the angels who sinned, so no one is too high to be judged.
  • God judged the ancient world before the flood, so God doesn’t grade on a curve.
  • God judged Sodom and Gomorrah, so even the prosperous can be judged.

Therefore, what makes the ungodly think they can escape God’s judgment? Their coming judgment is certain. As Jesus said in Luke 10:10-12, for those who reject the truth it will be more tolerable in that Day for Sodom.

 — David Guzik

7and if he rescued righteous Lot, greatly distressed by the sensual conduct of the wicked 8(for as that righteous man lived among them day after day, he was tormenting his righteous soul over their lawless deeds that he saw and heard); 9then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials,

"St. Peter freed by an angel" -by Jusepe de Ribera (1639)

Peter, as much as anyone, knew how true it is that “the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials,” because the Lord had sent an angel to jail to bring Peter out (Acts 12).

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and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment, 10and especially those who indulge in the lust of defiling passion and despise authority.

Bold and willful, they do not tremble as they blaspheme the glorious ones, 11 whereas angels, though greater in might and power, do not pronounce a blasphemous judgment against them before the Lord. 12 But these, like irrational animals, creatures of instinct, born to be caught and destroyed, blaspheming about matters of which they are ignorant, will also be destroyed in their destruction, 13suffering wrong as the wage for their wrongdoing. They count it pleasure to revel in the daytime. They are blots and blemishes, reveling in their deceptions, while they feast with you. 14They have eyes full of adultery, insatiable for sin. They entice unsteady souls. They have hearts trained in greed. Accursed children!

Let’s talk about sin.

He that falls into sin is a man; that grieves at it, is a saint; that boasteth of it, is a devil.
–Thomas Fuller

I would rather die than do something which I know to be a sin, or to be against God’s will.
–Joan of Arc

You sin in thinking bad about people — but, often, you guess right.
–Giulio Andreotti

Sorrow is held the eldest child of sin.
–John Webster

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15Forsaking the right way, they have gone astray. They have followed the way of Balaam, the son of Beor, who loved gain from wrongdoing, 16but was rebuked for his own transgression; a speechless donkey spoke with human voice and restrained the prophet’s madness.

Balaam was hired by a pagan king to curse the people of Israel.  For a while he refused, out of obedience to God — but eventually his greed overpowered him:  “he loved gain from wrongdoing.”  His donkey had to try to talk sense into him!

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17 These are waterless springs and mists driven by a storm. For them the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved.

Jude 1:12 (New International Version)

These people are blemishes at your love feasts, eating with you without the slightest qualm—shepherds who feed only themselves. They are clouds without rain, blown along by the wind; autumn trees, without fruit and uprooted—twice dead.

18For, speaking loud boasts of folly, they entice by sensual passions of the flesh those who are barely escaping from those who live in error. 19They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption. For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved. 20For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. 21For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them.

Christians warmly debate the issue of whether or not it is possible for a true Christian to ever lose their status as a true Christian and fall away to damnation. Perhaps the best way of understanding the issue is to say that it is certainly true that those who appear saved – those who fit the description of Peter here – can end up in a place where it would have been better for them not have known the way of righteousness.

Regarding these, those with a Reformed perspective will say that they were actually never saved; those with an Arminian perspective will say that they were actually saved and lost their salvation. To divide along the lines of this debate – which focuses on things that are unknowable to outside observation – seems to fall into the category of being obsessed with disputes and arguments over words, as in 1 Timothy 6:4.

–David Guzik

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22What the true proverb says has happened to them: “The dog returns to its own vomit, and the sow, after washing herself, returns to wallow in the mire.”

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Music:

Ick — I don’t want to return to my vomit!  Leave the past and all its sin alone!  Instead, “Take me to the cross again,” for there is where I see most clearly your redeeming love and find my new life.

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English Standard Version (ESV)   The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.

Images courtesy of:
heresy stamp.  http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-lNVAGrPs7uU/TcfLSheAMcI/AAAAAAAALgk/oeV37byMGjI/s1600/HeresyStamp.png
de Ribera.   http://endtimesrevelations.files.wordpress.com/2011/02/st-peter-freed-by-an-angel-1639-jusepe-de-riberaedited.jpg
apple.  http://school.discoveryeducation.com/clipart/images/apl-bite.gif
Balaam and his donkey.   http://fc05.deviantart.net/fs71/i/2010/248/f/5/balaam_and_talking_donkey_by_miguel0100-d2y3rmu.jpg
eternal security.   http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_A8NKQbSnkgQ/SqR8EFJzZII/AAAAAAAAAYA/nSYPLmkkoPI/s400/eternal+security.jpg

706.) 2 Peter 1

January 16, 2012

GUIDANCE for growing Christians!

2 Peter 1 (English Standard Version)

The date and destination of this letter are uncertain, and the authorship has been disputed.  Because of this, 2 Peter was the last book admitted to the canon of the New Testament Scripture.

In an culture that places decreasing value on God’s Word as “the” single authority of truth, Peter’s second letter is a timely series of reminders to help followers of Jesus guard against false teaching that proliferates in a truthless society.

Greeting

1Simeon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ,

To those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ:

2 May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.

Make Your Calling and Election Sure

3His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, 4by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises,

“He tells us too, that faith is ‘precious;’ and is it not precious? For it deals with precious things, with precious promises, with precious blood, with a precious redemption, with all the preciousness of the person of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”

— Charles Haddon Spurgeon

from Whispers of His Power,
by Amy Carmichael

Exceeding great and precious promises. — 2 Peter 1:4

“Promises precious and supreme,” “precious and wondrous,” “precious and very great.”  To read the different translations is like turning a jewel in the light.  Each turn shows some new beauty.

In the end we shall find every promise perfectly fulfilled.  Then why should we not let our hearts rest in peace about everything that happens?  For nothing can happen that can break a single one of these precious and exceeding great, supreme, and wondrous promises.

What depth it gives to Peter’s words when we remember that he was to die by crucifixion, and knew it.  There is no promise of an easy passage, but there are countless promises for every day of the voyage, and for a welcome when He brings us to our desired haven (as Psalm 107:30 puts it).

Let us take one promise for our own today, live on it it, test it and prove it — and thank Him for it.

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so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.

Galatians 4:4-7 (New International Version)

But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law,  to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship.  Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.”  So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.

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5For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, 6and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, 7and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. 8For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins.

10Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to make your calling and election sure, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. 11For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

“There are two ways of entering a port. A ship may come in, waterlogged and crazy, just kept afloat by continual working at the pumps; or it may enter with every sail set, her pennon floating at the mast-head. The latter is what the apostle desires for himself and those who he addresses. He desired that an entrance abundant should be ministered unto them.

“An ‘abundant entrance’ was really a choral entrance. The idea was of a Roman conqueror coming into his city, welcomed by singers and musicians who would join him in a glorious, happy procession into the city.

“Will your entrance into heaven be like that? Will you enter it, saved so as by fire, or to receive a reward? Will you come unrecognized and unknown, or be welcomed by scores and hundreds to whom you have been the means of blessing, and who will wait you?”

— F. B. Meyer

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12Therefore I intend always to remind you of these qualities, though you know them and are established in the truth that you have. 13I think it right, as long as I am in this body, to stir you up by way of reminder, 14 since I know that the putting off of my body will be soon, as our Lord Jesus Christ made clear to me. 15And I will make every effort so that after my departure you may be able at any time to recall these things.

Established is the same word translated strengthen in Luke 22:32, when Jesus told Peter “when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.”  Here, Peter fulfilled that command of Jesus.  He would establish and strengthen us by reminding us of the basics of the Christian life.

–David Guzik

Christ’s Glory and the Prophetic Word

16For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. 17For when he received honor and glory from God the Father, and the voice was borne to him by the Majestic Glory, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased,” 18we ourselves heard this very voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain.

Mark 9:2-8 (New Living Translation)

The Transfiguration

Six days later Jesus took Peter, James, and John, and led them up a high mountain to be alone. As the men watched, Jesus’ appearance was transformed,  and his clothes became dazzling white, far whiter than any earthly bleach could ever make them. Then Elijah and Moses appeared and began talking with Jesus.

Peter exclaimed, “Rabbi, it’s wonderful for us to be here! Let’s make three shelters as memorials—one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” He said this because he didn’t really know what else to say, for they were all terrified.

Then a cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my dearly loved Son. Listen to him.”  Suddenly, when they looked around, Moses and Elijah were gone, and they saw only Jesus with them.

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19And we have something more sure, the prophetic word, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts,

Morning Star so radiant and holy
Shine on me in my great hour of need
Jesus Christ so beautiful and lovely
Shine over me

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20knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. 21For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

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Music:

How grateful I am for Scripture, a love letter from God which illuminates my way through all of life’s vicissitudes and helps guide me to eternal life (Thanks, Pastor Dave Mattson!).   “Thy Word”  is sung by the Maranatha Singers.

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English Standard Version (ESV)   The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.

Images courtesy of:
2 Peter title.  http://calvarychapelsavinggrace.com/teachings/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/2_peter_title.jpg
precious promises.  http://the160acrewoods.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/2peter1-4-precious-sm.jpg
pyramid.   http://2.bp.blogspot.com/__oZfD0cT2ts/TA0YWjUbKPI/AAAAAAAADM0/v5EH-C9QqNE/s1600/MarriageMountain.gif
sailing into port (Cleveland Tall Ships Festival 2010).    http://www.examiner.com/images/blog/replicate/EXID37922/images/575-100707_3CS8090.jpg
Transfiguration.   http://www.gerhardy.id.au/images/transfiguration2.jpg
morning star.   http://www.torchleader.com/tl/3975199949_668c3575ff.jpg