Summary: Encouragement to be faithful
2 Peter 3 - Closing Calls
Turn with me this morning to the book of 2 Peter, chapter 3. We have been going through this book that we find at the end of the NT, five books before Revelation, the last book of the Bible. It is written by Peter, the bold fisherman who ended up leaving his nets and following Christ. And we saw last week that in 3:1, Peter is writing to REMIND us of things that we already know to be true, because we need to keep them in the forefront of our thinking. He says, Dear friends, this is now my second letter to you. I have written both of them as reminders to stimulate you to wholesome thinking. Here in 2 Peter 2, Peter is reminding us of the dangers at hand in the church. He is writing to remind us of things we know to be true. He reminds us that we need to go beyond just being comfortable in being a Christian, and
• we need to add to our faith 7 different qualities - I call them spiritual One-a-days. He reminds us that
• the Lord is returning - and we need to look for His return constantly. Peter reminds us that
the OT prophets are reliable, and we can rely on what the scriptures record for us.
there are also false prophets out there. - we need to identify and reject them!
Last week we looked at the idea that there are many scoffers trying to shake our faith by telling us that the Lord is not returning. But the truth is that God is NOT slow - He is not on the wrong timetable - but He PURPOSEFULLY is waiting for more people to repent and be saved. Because God wants EVERYONE to be saved. Will they? No. But God wants to give every possible chance for people to repent.
So today, we come to the end of 2 Peter and we see Peter’s closing words.
How do you close a letter? We write our names at the end, but we normally also have some form of salutation - Love, Sincerely, Your Friend - or we write on the envelope SWAK - sealed with a kiss - or SWCL - sealed with Christ’s love - or even this one: SWALCAKWS - Sealed with a Lick cause a Kiss wouldn’t stick!
So how does Peter end this letter? Let’s look here in chapter 3 of 2 Peter, verse 14. READ 3:14-18 PRAY
Peter ends his letter with 4 calls to his readers - 4 calls to us today. The first is found in verse 14 -
Be Diligent - Peter says here, So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him. Peter says, Because Christ IS returning - He is not late, He has not forgotten His promise, He is just being patient - In light of this truth - that Jesus IS returning, we need to be diligent. He says we should “make every effort” - the term has the idea of taking great pains - doing whatever is necessary. We are to make every effort to be at peace with God. How do we do that?
We examine our lives TODAY, and make whatever changes we need to so that we can have peace. What gives us peace with God? A clear conscience! Those who are under conviction with a guilty conscience face sleepless nights, racing pulse, fear, constant worry of being “found out” - but those who live spotless, blameless lives have nothing to fear. We have used the phrase recently, Live in such a way that you wouldn’t be ashamed to sell your parrot to the town gossip. Those who live faithfully don’t have to worry what will be found out about them - them can be at peace. We have a society plagued with stress and high blood pressure - the last thing we need is to worry about someone finding out what we are really like. When we live faithful to the Lord, we can live at peace.
So Peter tells us in closing, first, be diligent, second
Be Confident - We can be confident that Christ’s delay in returning IS purposeful. Peter proves this by citing Paul as another who taught this. He says in verse 15 - Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote to you with the wisdom that God gave him. He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. Peter says Paul says the same thing I do!
Peter and Paul taught the people a LOT about end time events. Paul teaches in 2 Thessalonians 2 about the antichrist, and then he says in verse 5 - Don’t you remember that when I was with you I used to tell you these things? We somehow think that in the 20th century we figured everything out that Christians never knew before - but Paul says I used to tell you this!