Summary: When we grow we give glory to God.
Living In Light of His Return
Rev. Brian Bill
June 13-14, 2015
Video: If Jesus Returned Today
It’s good to be back from a two-week vacation. Actually, we didn’t really go anywhere. I know it’s hard to believe but we didn’t head to Wisconsin but instead decided to paint the exterior of our house. I’m not very handy but I do like to paint. I think it’s because it’s easy to see improvement pretty quickly. Our house is still a work in progress but thought I’d show you what it looks like now. Instead of going to Green Bay, we decided to bring Green Bay here. Oh, and I also picked up a new car. JK.
We’re finishing up our study in the book of Second Peter today. I went back and reread the first sermon in this series to see if we accomplished what we set out to do. Here are the four purposes I shared for choosing this book:
1. To grow in our faith (3:18).
2. To be equipped to deal with error (2:1).
3. To savor the return of Jesus Christ (3:3-4, 10).
4. To be encouraged to persevere (3:17).
Hopefully we can all say we’ve made some progress these past couple months.
As we come to the closing verses of this brief letter, let me remind you that Peter wrote these words shortly before he died. Let’s look at the picture he paints as he nears the end of his life from 2 Peter 3:14-18: “Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless; 15 and consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation—as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, 16 as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures. 17 You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked; 18 but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen.”
In verse 14 we see the word, “Therefore,” which sets up this final section. Based upon everything he has just declared, this is what we should now do. If this is what we say we believe, then this how we should behave. Notice that he calls his readers “beloved,” which he does four times in this final chapter alone. This word literally means, “divinely loved ones,” and also reveals Peter’s tender heart for these persecuted Christ-followers. He then tells us to “look forward to these things.” Specifically we’re to set our minds on verse 13 as we: “look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.”
Because we know this to be true, Peter challenges us with three closing conclusions:
• Be Diligent to Show (14)
• Be Discerning to Know (15-17)
• Be Disciplined to Grow (18)
Our house painting involved three different steps. We spent an entire day power washing and scraping and sanding. Then we painted the wood siding. This took three days. And now we’re working on the trim. This may take us all summer because we have to be precise. These three phases serve as metaphors to help us understand our passage.
The first challenge is found in the second part of verse 14. We could call this the prep work as the Holy Spirit does some power washing, scraping and sanding of our rough edges.
1. Be Diligent to Show. “Be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless.” To be “diligent” means to be “earnest and eager to do something hurriedly.” The force of this command is something like this: “Be intensely diligent right now!” This same word is used by the Apostle Paul in 2 Timothy 2:15: “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”
Commentator Matthew Henry offers this summary: “He who does the work negligently can never do it successfully.” Jeremiah 48:10 puts it even more bluntly: “Cursed is he who does the work of the LORD with slackness…” Brothers and sisters, let’s not be spiritual slackers or pew potatoes. I introduced myself to a guy at Panera this week and found out he serves as a missionary in India. We ended up chatting for about 30 minutes and right before he left he shared something that speaks to this very point: “If you think you’ve arrived, you have…because you’re not going anywhere else.”