Summary: While most people --including many professing Christians -- indiscriminately follow the popular culture and focus their lives on either looks, materialism, popularity, success, power, prestige, or social acceptance -- why should we pursue God and godlines
How Should We Then Live?
2 Peter 3:11-12, 17-18
1. I just came back from a pastor's conference, and I had a good time. We did not have too much free time, but I was able to work in a sermon outline and borrowed my room mate's computer to send the outline to Jane. . I brought two commentaries with me. So, much to my surprise, we are armed and ready to go.
2. But why did I want to go? I'll answer it with a joke I heard at the conference.
3. A woman overheard the church custodian talking to a deacon. She thought he was talking about the pastor, but was actually talking about the furnace: "The blower works fine, but the fire has gone out."
3. Serving the Lord -- not only as a pastor, but simply as a Christian -- means a constant pursuit of God. And sometimes we need to re-challenged in our walk. And that is the theme of our text.
Main Idea: While most people --including many professing Christians -- indiscriminately follow the popular culture and focus their lives on either looks, materialism, popularity, success, power, prestige, or social acceptance -- why should we pursue God and godliness instead?
I. Everything Earthly Will Be DESTROYED (11)
A. The things our FRIENDS urge us to pursue
1. Who our friends are makes a big difference
• For some people, the TV or movie theater is their friend
• For other people, music is their friend
• The peer group we choose influences us, no matter what our age
• Most of us value the affirmation of people, and that is not bad
• Some people say, "I don't care what people think." They should say, "I care about what others think, but I care MORE for what God thinks!
John 12:42-43 "Yet at the same time many even among the leaders believed in him. But because of the Pharisees they would not confess their faith for fear they would be put out of the synagogue; for they loved praise from men more than praise from God."
2. The world is about conformity. The world tells us to "get in line."
B. Peter suggests we can CHOOSE how to live
1. He says we ought to live holy and godly lives
2. Holy means "different." It means "set apart for God."
3. Godly means we are to mimic the character of God.
4. Many of us are taught that we are completely programmed by DNA.
C. Holy, godly lives bear FIRE-PROOF rewards
1. Everything else will be destroyed
2. What we do for the Lord is converted into eternal rewards, riches in heaven, crowns
Application: Many people get glimpses of the temporal nature of life and the importance of pursuing God. Talking to a pastor from Haiti, then we got into 911… it is like we go around life, mentally drunk so we can avoid considering the vastness of eternity and the brevity of this life. Such events and tragedies sober us up, but most people return to their drunken denial of reality.
II. The Fruit of a Life of Godly AMBITION is Delicious (12, 17)
A. Looking FORWARD to the day of God (12a)
1. This refers to all that is waiting for us in eternity, not just the New Heaven
2. The day of God is a general term for all or part of what will happen beginning with the Tribulation, the Millennium, and the New Heaven and Earth
3. Death is our last goodbye-- if we have no regrets, it is a wonderful goodbye.
B. Speeding the COMING of the Lord (12b)
1. The Jews believed if all Israel repented, Messiah would come & set up his kingdom.
2. They also believed in a principle of "fixing up the earth" in preparation for the Messiah's reign; you get a taste of that in the ministry of John the Baptist…"a voice crying in the wilderness, prepare…"
3. The implication is that we believers can work toward that end…bringing the message not only to Israel, but to the world…and being the salt of the earth…
4. We speed up the coming of the Lord not by political action, but by bringing people to repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.
C. Staying the COURSE (17)
1. We must be alert and vigilant against error; remember that error usually comes in increments. When people frequently say, "I am not saying this…" --Beware! When they say, "I am not saying we should embrace this movement or belief system, but…"
2. Illustration: Story of the frog in the kettle.
3. All are vulnerable to disgrace God's Name, losing our rewards, & wasting our lives.
III. The Path of Godliness is SIMPLE (18)
Simplicity is beautiful: easy to understand -- not without discipline, sacrifice, and pain.