God’s people: A hopeful people
Scripture: II Peter 3:1-18
Aim: To instruct the pupil in some basic contrasts of unregenerate sinners and those who have been regenerated by the Holy Spirit through faith in Jesus Christ.
Golden Text: “Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall form your own steadfastness. But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever” (II Peter 3:17-18).
Peter wrote his book to believers in order to remind them of the blessings and hope in Jesus Christ that they possessed. He also warned them that they should be careful to remain faithful in living out their faith in Christ (v. 1). Further, he pointed out the sure foundation upon which their faith was built, which included the truths of the Old Testament (taught by the “holy prophets”) and the commandments of the “apostles of the Lord and Savior (Jesus Christ, v. 2).
I. Peter pointed out that there would be scoffers and unbelievers in the last days (before Jesus comes back for His thousand years reign over the earth, II Peter 3:1-9). Scoffers are those who make light of, and reject the truths regarding Christ and His salvation for the sinner. Joining them are the multitudes who will not receive the truth and reject Christ and His Salvation.
First, these people live according to their own wants, their own desires (“lusts,” v. 3).
Second, they willfully deny the second coming of Christ (v. 4). They question “if” He will return. They are unbelieving and make light of such teaching.
Third, the scoffers and unbelievers a “willingly ignorant,” that is, they are ignorant because thy desire to be. The refuse to accept the truth and actively condemn the truth. They refuse to believe that God is the Creator; that He sent a flood upon the earth to destroy sinful men (v. 4-6). They refuse to believe that God will judge sinful men and hold them accountable for their sins; that God will destroy this earth and all in it by fire (v. 7, 10).
The scoffers and unbelievers refuse to accept the mercy of God accounting that Jesus Christ is unreal, unreliable and untrustworthy (v. 8-9). They refuse to repent of their sins and receive Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord (vs. 9).
II. Peter reminds the Christians to be faithful in the light of the coming “Day of the Lord” (II Peter 3:9-18). First, in contrast to the lost (unbelieving scoffers), all who repent and believe on Christ are saved from the wrath of God against sin (v. 9).
Second, the believers are looking for the return of Christ (v. 10, 12-13).
Third, believers are “looking for and hasting (earnestly desiring) the coming of the Day of God.” (This is the day of judgment upon all the lost, v. 12).
Fourth, believers are looking for a new heaven and earth in which to dwell with Christ for eternity (v. 13).
Believers are expected to be “diligent” (give careful heed to) the way they live (v. 14). They are to live in “peace”—harmony with God, others and self, “without spot”—possess personal holiness in life and living, and “blameless”—have public and private purity in their life.
In essence, believers are to be trusting and growing in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ (v.18). Thus, because of the believer’s relationship with Christ he will be delivered from the destruction” brought about by God’s judgment upon sinful men and a sin cursed universe.
Today God offers forgiveness, cleansing and transformation to the person who agrees with God that he is a sinner, who repents (confesses and turns from) of his sins, and believes (receives) Jesus Christ as his personal Savior. This is the only way to be free from God’s wrath against sin!