Evangelical Community Chapel at Liberal: a Molalla, Oregon Church

Molalla, Oregon

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This is Important

November 23rd, 2008 by Vic

2 Peter 3:1-10

This is my approximate literal translation of these verses from the Greek.

3:1 This now my beloved brethren is a second formal letter I am writing to you all in both of which I am waking up in the sphere of remembrance your pure (free from falsehood) intentions.

3:2 That you should remember the words that have been previously spoken by the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior through the apostles.

3:3 This one thing firstly be learning to know that there will come during the last of the days in the sphere of mockery mockers according to their own irregular desires they are ordering their lives.

3:4 And saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For from the edge of which the fathers fell asleep all things so are remaining from the edge of the beginning of creation.”

3:5 For this fact escapes them intentionally that heavens were from of old and earth by water and through water have been and are remaining set together by the word of God.

3:6 Through which the then world by water being overflowed destroyed itself.

3:7 But the now heavens and earth by the same word having been kept in store are for fire being kept unto a day of judgment and destruction of the impious men.

3:8 But stop letting this one thing escape from you dearly beloved that one day in the presence of the Lord is as one thousand years and one thousand years as day one.

3:9 The Lord is not late with the promise as some lateness consider, but is lovingly patient unto you all not wanting that some should cause themselves to perish, but all mankind unto repentance to proceed.

3:10 But the day of the Lord will arrive as a thief in the sphere of which the heavens with a rushing sound will come to a change and basic materials being burned with fever it will be dissolved and earth and the in her works will be burned up.

Notice in 3:3 Peter said, THIS know for sure that mockers will come. In 3:5 he said these mockers forget THIS that changes have occurred in history. In 3:10 Peter is saying THIS you are forgetting that God is not like you.

In today’s Scripture we read how important it is to remember. Stop and remember life is about God not you. Stop and remember we are part of God’s story. The pure in heart see God.

Mockers do not see God in this world because they choose not to see God in this world. Let’s begin by looking at 2 words that describe mockers in verse 5.

The word ‘escape’ (KJV=ignorant; NIV=forget) is not the passive idea of being set free, but the active idea of losing. No one forced you to forget. In English we might be trying to think of a particular word to say and we will say, “The word I want escapes me.” That is what we mean here. The word has escaped from my consciousness.

The second word is ‘intentionally’ (KJV=willingly; NIV=deliberately). They were willing or wishing this fact to escape them. This fact is being forgotten by them intentionally. They did not want to remember God’s word. It made them uncomfortable. They did not practice remembering.

This is why you cannot convince someone to become a Christian by using evidence that demands a verdict. The Spirit will draw them through your love more than your argument. They can choose to forget.

Men whose lives are centered on this world often choose to ignore the lessons of history. They choose to believe the world will last forever and they ignore any evidence of God. They forget because they do not take the time to remember.

Let’s go back to 3:1 and notice the difference between the Christian and the mocker.

Peter first identifies himself with his readers. The word for ‘my beloved brethren’ (agapeetoi) is used more in this chapter than any other in the N.T. Chapter 2 is a negative chapter. It warned of destruction. In contrast here Peter uses this special word for friends. In contrast to the false teachers in chapter 2 that he compared to donkeys, dogs, and pigs, Peter now thinks of his readers and says ‘my beloved brethren.’

In the sphere of remembrance, or by drawing upon their memory, Peter says he is waking up from sleep their pure minds. This is an unusual word for pure and scholars are unsure of the exact meaning. It may mean pure like pure wheat that has been cleaned of all the chaff and dirt. Or it may mean pure like a gem that is held up to the light and is revealed to be flawless. Maybe Peter had both ideas in mind. Your mind can be awake and clean.

The false teachers who had become entangled again by the pollutions of this world had impure minds.

Peter uses the word for ‘mind’ or ‘intention’ only here and in 1 Peter 1:13. The root idea of this word is thought or reflection. Peter uses the regular word for mind and prefixes it with ‘dia’ which means through. It suggests that the very source of our thoughts can be made holy through and through by faith in Jesus and still go to sleep.

Peter does not try to wake up the minds of the false teachers. They had closed their minds by choice. But Christians with open minds and pure motives will benefit from remembering. Sometimes we may go to sleep, spiritually, but God sends friends to wake us up. We go to sleep, but not willingly like the mockers.

We should remember the sayings that have been previously spoken by the holy prophets and remember the commandment of the Lord and Savior spoken through our apostles.

Peter believed in the unity of Scripture. God had promised through the prophets that Christ would come. He came. Jesus promised that His Spirit would come and teach us. He came.

It may be helpful to stop and consider what command of Jesus Peter may have been referring to. Jesus said the greatest commandment is to love the Lord your God and the second is like unto it, to love your neighbor as yourself. Then Jesus said a new commandment I give to you, love one another as I have loved you. But maybe Peter was thinking of one of Jesus’ last commands to simply “Watch”. Watch and pray, you know not the hour.

It is interesting that in 3:2 Peter told us to wake up and remember what we already know. Then in 3:3 we need to learn this one thing. In 3:2 we were to remember the importance of Scripture and in 3:3 we are to realize there will be opposition. We are aliens. Satan is using people to keep you busy so you forget God. You may be busy doing good. You don’t take much time to meditate. Peter says you must take time to remember God. Take time to be holy.

3 words in verse 3 will help you understand what Peter said will be inevitable. The root word for mockery (KJV & NIV=scoffers) and mockers means to play, to party, to jest. Then to make sport of someone, to play with someone maliciously, to deceive, to defraud. This word suggests that these people will not scoff at any specific Church views or doctrines, but simply make fun. The attitude of mockers is hostility to Truth and God Himself. In 3:7 these mockers are called ungodly and irreverent. They have no awe or respect of God.

(Read letter from ABC technician.)

So Peter is warning us that in a party-like atmosphere, in the sphere of mockery, scoffers will try to play with us. They are living like selfish children, making fun of everyone who is different from themselves. They do not want to understand anyone else. They want everyone else to be like them. “Try it you’ll like it.” They value tolerance and fear people with definite moral standards. The Christian is patient, loving, kind, longsuffering but intolerant of sin. “You have made the house of prayer a den of thieves.”

The second word here is ‘irregular desires’. It is the normal word for desire with the prefix ‘epi’ which intensifies the word. So it is not just desire, but earnest desire, lust, anxious self-seeking. This is the lust or desire that bursts upon the person with immediacy and urgency. “I need it now!” “I want it and I’m going to get it now!” This is the desire in the person who has forgotten. He has forgotten his responsibilities and has cast aside his moral restraint and self-denial.

Many people are forgetting. Christians must remember. They should keep their head on straight.

The third word I have translated “ordering their lives” (KJV=walking; NIV=following) because it is more than just walking or going as some have translated it. And one of Peter’s repeated themes is regarding our daily way of life and behavior.

Notice the standard by which they order their lives. These mockers order their lives according to their own impulses and desires. They plan their lives and set their life goals by the standard of their own lusts. They are slaves of their desires and a law unto themselves. They neither remember God in their past nor see God in their future. They deny the Second Coming and mock the Christians who believe God is active in their lives today.

Peter has told us 2 things. Remember the Scripture and know that there will be mockers. Jesus predicted in Matthew that “As were the days of Noah, so shall be the coming of the Son of Man… eating, drinking, parties… until the day that Noah entered the ark.”

Peter says in their mockery they reveal the foolishness of their thinking. How can anyone forget the flood of Noah? Every civilization has some historical reference to the flood. And even creation itself was a time of change. These mockers are fools if they say there has been no flood. The fool also says in his heart there is no God.

3:5 says “heavens were from of old”. When the Bible talks about heavens (plural), it is referring to part of the created world. Heaven (singular) usually refers to the presence of God. If you read this verse closely you will see that Peter is saying that before our history began at creation, the heavens were there. The heavens were already old and worn out. Genesis says at the point of creation the earth was without form and void. Isaiah suggests that a previous world was destroyed when Lucifer sinned.

“Earth was made by water and through water” when God spoke. Mockers forget that creation itself testifies to the changes that occur when God speaks. Mockers forget that creation was a major change of time.

3:6 But the point that Peter is trying to make is that these very waters that were used to create and sustain our world were also the source of its judgment at the flood.

The word for destruction in verses 6 and 7 are from the same root. In verse 6 it is a verb; in 7 a noun. In 3:6 it is a verb in the middle voice which means the subject acts upon itself. So Peter is saying that God did not destroy the world with the flood, but the world destroyed itself.

If you remember the story of Noah, you will recall that God told Noah to keep preaching while he was building. God had spoken a law into existence and he wanted everyone to know. So Noah warned the people that if they did not repent and obey God, they would perish. That is God’s moral law! God still warns today.

God’s moral laws are like his physical laws. You suffer consequences if you break them. To say that God destroyed the world with the flood would be like saying God broke your leg when you jumped off the roof of the church. Peter says the world destroyed itself with the very thing that God had intended to sustain it.

The idea of this word destruction is not extinction or annihilation, but to ruin or squander so badly that it can never be quite the same again. Like little children wrecking their toys. The world needs fixing.

The mockers were saying there had been no changes. Peter says there have been some great changes. The world is completely different now than it was before the flood. This world cannot function in the same way it was originally designed to do.

Peter is saying that God warned the people; they ignored His warning to their own destruction. God has also warned us. God has said there will be a judgment. God has spoken and we can choose to listen or destroy ourselves. Just as in Romans 1:24, man self-destructs.

3:7 Through all the prophets of the O.T. and by His own Son, God has spoken and “by the same word” He is maintaining the ‘now’ world and is laying up in store fire. God is putting fire on deposit and keeping it in a safe place for the ‘day of the Lord'(3:10).

In 1 Peter 1, Peter had said that God is protecting the inheritance of the saints in heaven or in His presence. But fire is treasured up for the judgment and destruction of impious men. If you believe in heaven, you have to believe in hell. God said it.

The judgment is a time of distinction and discrimination. The destruction is a parallel idea with judgment which suggests that the punishment of the sinners will reflect their sins. Hell will be a place where you will be punished in the way that you have misused God’s gifts to you. This destruction is an everlasting state of torment and death in which nothing can be repaired or fixed. Nothing will heal itself. You will exist with your mistakes. Hell will be full of broken toys that cannot be fixed. You are responsible for the Truth you can know.

The Greek word ‘sebon’ is the word for reverent and Peter adds the prefix ‘a’ or not. These mockers were irreverent men. They were unworshippers and completely without awe of God.

3:8 And you Christians have let yourselves get sucked into the thinking of this world. “So stop letting this one thing escape from you…” God thinks differently than you think. This is the same word used for the mockers in verse 5.

This is a command here to stop doing what they are doing. Stop forgetting!

This verse is usually translated “that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years and a thousand years as one day.” The word that is translated “with” is para, from which we get parallel and paragraph. It means beside, before, with, along side, but can also mean ‘in the presence of’. I like the idea that that suggests. One day in the presence of the Lord… Not just with the Lord, but in His presence. (AV “of” 51; “with” 42; “from” 24; “by the side of” 15)

Can you imagine what it would be like to be in the presence of the Lord so closely that the things of the earth would be strangely dim? What time would it be in His presence? What is His time? Try practicing the presence of God. What does the economy look like in His presence?

We measure our lives by the passing of time, but time does not pass by God. For us the last second must disappear before this second appears and this second must leave before the next can come.

For God, the first moment of time and the last moment of time are still present with Him. The beginning and the end and the now are all the same. God has no history because He has never lost any time. He has no past because every moment is still present. He never changes. He cannot change. He cannot say, I was or I will be. He can only say, “I AM!”

God is in tomorrow and He can see you there as well as today and yesterday. He does not remember you doing things, He sees you doing things. “One day in the presence of the Lord…”

The mockers assume that God thinks like they think. Don’t make their mistake. They are betting that the judgment is not coming. They do not keep their promises so they assume God does not keep His. They do not understand God. There is no delay with God because there is no time. There is no need for God to hurry. God cannot hurry up or slow down. God simply IS!

Those who complain of delay think life is about them. In God’s eyes, a long period of time is not long and a short period of time is not short. God gives ample time for repentance but to the unrepentant, the End may come quickly.

3:9 We try to measure God by our standards. Think about it. When are you late? What do you consider late? God is never late. He only seems late to scoffers.

All our reasons for being late we read into God’s motives.

Why are some people late in getting things done? Because they have made a rash promise and can’t do it. Because they have forgotten. Because it is not important to them anymore. These mockers were inferring that this was why God did not keep His promise.

You try to explain God’s lateness by your standards. You are trying to judge God by what causes you to be late. But do you know why God is late as some men call lateness?

God is long-suffering, lovingly patient, and long on temper. We don’t think about patience causing lateness. However, lateness can be caused by love.

Nancy and I have been invited to homes for dinner at 5:00 and we struggled to be patient and not arrive at the home until 6:00. We were late because we loved the people and did not want to embarrass them. God is late because He understands you and loves you.

Forbearance, longsuffering, patience, slow to anger all describe the nature of God. God’s forbearance creates an opportunity for repentance. God is not like us. But the Bible says we are to be like Him. We are to be motivated by His love.

“God is not wanting that some should cause themselves to perish.” There are 2 words in the NT for ‘wanting or willing’ and this is the least common. The other word emphasizes the emotional aspect of wishing for something and this word emphasizes the rational aspect. By a strong exercise of His will, God does not want any to perish. God’s plan is that you be saved.

By choosing this word and the middle voice for ‘perish’, Peter has preserved the free will of man with the sovereign will of God. God is always willing to save, but man is not always receptive to salvation. The middle voice suggests the subject is acting upon himself, so as the world destroyed itself in the flood so man can destroy himself in his sinful ways.

The mockers said there was a delay on God’s part because He was not able or He had lost interest in man, but “it is not His considered will that some should destroy themselves, but proceed unto repentance.”

God wants all mankind to proceed unto the point of repentance. He is not happy when one destroys himself. He wants all to turn from sin. Man has the opportunity to proceed toward God or proceed toward his own desires. One way leads to life and the other death. And whether you ignore the Truth or not, one thing is certain…

3:10 The day of the Lord will arrive. It is not just continually coming, but it will arrive. God said things will be changed and things will be changed. Not by our time. Creation changed the world; the flood changed the world. God said the world will be changed again. His day will arrive. The verb is the first word in this sentence. It is placed first for emphasis. Normally the subject comes first, but Peter emphasizes that “Will come the day of the Lord as a thief.”

For the Jew the day of the Lord was that time between the present age and the age to come when God directly intervenes in Creation. The Jews said the present age is totally bad and sinful while the age to come will be the golden age of God. The change of the ages cannot come about by the action of man. God will change things. Peter is describing here the end of that day.

That day arrives like the arrival of a thief. If we cannot understand the timing of a thief, how can we expect to comprehend the timing of God?

We can learn several facts about the Second Coming by Peter’s choice of words. When the day arrives, the heavens will come to a change with a rushing sound. This is the only place in the NT this word is used. In other Greek literature it is used to describe the sound of an arrow, wings, water, sharpening metal, violent flames, thunder, lash, and the hiss of a snake. It is a scary or sudden sound that rushes by.

One of the most devastating things to the devout Jew was to have a scroll ripped and then clatter up into a roll. Like some of our old window shades when you turn them loose and they go up and clatter around a couple times. This word was used of that ripping noise.

Isaiah 34:4 says when the day of the Lord comes, the heavens will be changed like the rolling up of a scroll. Can you picture God just rolling up these heavens and unrolling a new backdrop? I picture it like the shaking of a rug. God is going to shake the heavens and get rid of all the trash man has put in it and change it into something new.

The word for ‘change’ is again in the middle voice. God won’t have to act directly. He has created in the heavens a self-cleaning mechanism by which it can clean itself up. It will be like lightening striking a tree. By the time you hear the rushing sound, the event will already have occurred. The heavens will flow through this time into the next.

The word ‘basic materials’ is the word for ‘elements’. The Greeks thought the basic building blocks of this world were earth, air, fire and water. So everything that the world is made of will get a fever.

The word ‘fever’ is a medical word that again suggests that the basic elements are getting sick with sin and when the day of the Lord arrives, their temperature will consume them.

The works of this world are the things that man has made and done. They will be burned or tested by fire to be seen for what they really are. The works of man will be changed and seen from God’s point of view.

When the heavens are burned away, the earth and its works, from the divine point of view, becomes visible. The wicked cannot hide. While the destruction of the heavens will be terrible, even more terrible is that the wicked will stand naked and unprotected on the earth. The manifestation of the earth is a consequence of the destruction of the heavens. Everything else will be destroyed, but the world and mankind will remain to face judgment.

In 3:3 Peter said, THIS know for sure that mockers will come. In 3:5 he said these mockers forget THIS that changes have occurred in history. Here Peter is saying THIS you are forgetting that God is not like you. God is God of all Creation. It would be smart to honor Him and obey Him.

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