Friday, February 24, 2017, 8:15 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Trust Him.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read 2 Peter 3 (NASB). Mockers will Come (vv. 1-7) This is now, beloved, the second letter I am writing to you in which I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder, that you should remember the words spoken beforehand by the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior spoken by your apostles. Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts, and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation.” For when they maintain this, it escapes their notice that by the word of God the heavens existed long ago and the earth was formed out of water and by water, through which the world at that time was destroyed, being flooded with water. But by His word the present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men. We all need reminders, don’t we? Have you ever noticed how scripture keeps repeating the same message over and over and over again? It is because we need to be reminded, because we can get dull of hearing sometimes. The main message throughout scripture is that, because of what God did for us in providing us with salvation from sin, we need to turn from our sins, and we need to turn to God to walk in his ways and in his truth – all in the power and working of his Spirit who provides us with all we need to live godly lives. Yet, not everyone has faith. In fact, many people will be belligerent in their refusal to believe in Jesus and to follow in his ways. And, they will come against those of us who are walking in the Spirit, and who are no longer conducting our lives according to the flesh, though not in absolute sinless perfection. They will attack us and our faith, and the Bible, and they will mock us and God’s Word, and they will persecute, hate, reject, ostracize, ridicule, falsely accuse, and mistreat us because we stand on the Word of Truth and we do not deny our Lord. They may also try to trap us and trick us, or they may find multiple ways to cut us to the heart and to belittle us and to devalue us because they don’t like what we stand for, and/or because our lifestyles serve to convict their own wandering hearts. But, their refusal to believe God’s Words do not change his Words. They will be fulfilled! In His Timing (vv. 8-10) But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day. The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up. This morning, when I woke up, I could hear the name of someone I know spoken in my mind (silently, not audibly). It was the person’s first and middle name. So, I committed this person to prayer. But, then I sensed that I was to look up the meaning of this person’s name. The first name means “ice” and the middle name means “born again.” This is someone who is born again. As I pondered this in my mind, I immediately saw the connection to this passage of scripture. “Ice” is cold and it is hard. It is not pliable at all. This is a picture of these mockers and those who have continuously resisted the voice of the Spirit and have gone their own way instead. They have hearts which are hardened against God and against his Word, at least in some areas, if not in all areas of their lives. They are cold (emotionless and indifferent) to the truths of God and to his way of righteousness. Some of us may have people like this in our lives whom we love dearly, but who have been resisting the Spirit of God. They have hardened their hearts against God because they know that faith in Christ means death to sin, and it means walking in holiness, and they are wanting to hold on to sin in their lives, and to not give up control over their own lives. So, they resist the Spirit, and twist the Word to their advantage, and they deny or excuse away their own sin, and refuse to take responsibility, and then they shift the blame on to others. They lie continuously to cover-up their own sin, and they even begin to believe their own lies they tell themselves. They are a lot like a vehicle driving round and round in a cul-de-sac. They are wandering aimlessly, going nowhere, and just recycling the same behavior patterns over and over again, because they don’t want to let go and let God. So, these words are written here to encourage our hearts when we begin to feel disheartened over those who keep resisting God. God’s timing is not like our timing. His ways and his thoughts are not like our ways and our thoughts. He is very patient. He has not yet brought his wrath on the earth, because he is patient, and because he wishes that all people would come to repentance and would not perish (die) in their sins. So, evil will prevail, and the wicked will continue to be wicked, for a time, but God is going to move in a mighty way at his appointed time, and there will be many people who will come to faith in Jesus Christ, including many who are now resisting him and who have hardened their hearts against him. And, then “ice” will be “born again,” i.e. they will no longer have hardened hearts, but God will give them pliable hearts to believe in Christ, to repent of their sins, and to turn to walk in obedience to Christ, in his holiness and in his righteousness. In Holy Conduct (vv. 11-18) Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat! But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells. Therefore, beloved, since you look for these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless, and regard the patience of our Lord as salvation; just as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him, wrote to you, as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction. You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard so that you are not carried away by the error of unprincipled men and fall from your own steadfastness, but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen. One day, God is going to pour out his wrath on this earth in judgment, and when he does, many people will die, many of whom will die in their sins. And, ultimately, the earth as we know it will be gone. God’s Word will be fulfilled, even if it has not happened yet. So, we should never take the time we have now for granted. Not one of us knows if we have tomorrow or even the next minute. Our lives could be taken from us at any moment in time. So, why is it important that we live godly and holy lives until this time in which God does destroy the earth? And, what does this have to do with what Paul wrote in his letters? The answer to these questions has everything to do with our understanding of what it means to believe in Jesus Christ and to be saved from our sins, and to have the promise of eternal life with God. Very simply put, Jesus died on the cross for our sins that we might die to sin and live to righteousness (1 Pet. 2:24). He did not die merely to give us an escape from hell and the promise of heaven when we die. He died to radically change (alter) our lives while we still live on the face of this earth. He who knew no sin became sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God, that we might no longer live for ourselves, but for him who gave his life up for us (2 Co. 5:15, 21). When we believe in Jesus, we are crucified with Christ in death to sin, and we are resurrected with Christ to newness of life, that we might live with Christ to his righteousness (See: Ro. 6:1-23; Eph. 4:17-24; cf. Lu. 9:23-25). A saved life is one that no longer walks (in lifestyle) according to our sinful flesh, but it is a life which walks (conducts our lives) according to the Spirit of God (Ro. 8:1-14). The Bible teaches us that if we say we have fellowship with God, but we walk in darkness (sin), we are liars (1 Jn. 1:6). If we say we love God, or that we know God, but we do not obey Christ’s commands (his instructions to us), then we don’t really love or know God (Jn. 14:23-24; 1 Jn. 2:3-6). This is not saying we must live in sinless perfection (See: 1 Jn. 2:1), but it is saying that we should have a change of lifestyle, and that we daily should be putting sin to death, by the Spirit of God, if we want to have eternal life with God (Ro. 8:1-14; Lu. 9:23-25). The Bible also says that “we have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly till the end the confidence we had at first” (Heb. 3:14). In other words, we are not guaranteed eternal life with God on the basis of past faith or on the basis of a profession only of faith. Paul said that the righteous requirement of the law is fully met in us who walk, not according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit (See: Ro. 8:1-14). So, what sort of people ought we to be until the Lord’s coming? We ought to live holy lives, in holy conduct and godliness. And, we need to remain steadfast in our walks of faith in the Spirit and no longer live according to our sinful flesh. And, we must guard against teachings which try to convince us that we can still walk in sin and yet have the promise of heaven when we die, for those are a lie of Satan. Jesus said that if we hold on to our old lives (of living for sin and self), we will lose them (for eternity), but if we lose our lives (die with Christ to sin), we will gain eternal life (Lu. 9:23-25). And, for those of us who sometimes grow weary or who get disheartened over the many who are living in open rebellion against God, we need to trust God. Trust Him / An Original Work / August 15, 2012 Based off Psalm 27:14 Wait for the Lord; be of courage; Be strong and take heart today. Do not fear when foes attack you. Trust in God always. He will rescue you in times Of trouble and distress, He’ll comfort you in all ways As you trust Him with your life today. Trust in Him always. God is with you; He’ll not leave you. You can always count on Him. He will fulfill all He promised Before you began. His word teaches you All that you need for this life. Let Him lead you. Open your heart; Let his truth envelope you today. Listen and obey. Love your Lord God; follow Jesus. Repent of your sins today. Make Him your Lord and your master; Trust Him and obey. Follow Him where’er He leads you In His service; be His witness, Telling others about Jesus’ Price that He did pay For your sins always.