Today’s sermon title was actually the title of book written by Chuck Colson in 1999, and I believe that he adapted it from Francis Schaffer’s “How Should We Then Live?” written in 1976.
Ultimately, both of those authors borrowed the thought from Peter here in 2 Peter 11-12. Peter said in verse 11, “Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of person ought you to be?”
It was a rhetorical question but one that Peter answered in today’s text. This the final message in our study of 2 Peter, and we’re asking that question this morning, “How Now Shall We Live?”
The NT often teaches the truth that moral imperatives follow eschatological indicatives. Do what? The commands we live out depend on what we believe to be true about the end times. Our conduct is determined by our convictions. Our behavior is determined by our beliefs.
In verse 11, since the Day of the Lord is coming like a thief in the night, and the Lord will destroy the present heavens and earth with fire before He creates a new heaven and new earth, you should be characterized by hopeful looking and holy living.
Notice “therefore” is used three times in these closing verses: 11, 14, and 17. Because of what we know, a certain behavior should follow.
First is looking forward with hope that Jesus will return. Verse 12 says looking for and hastening the coming day of God. Verse 13 says we look for new heavens and a new earth. Verse 14 says looking forward to these things.
Second is holy living. Verse 11 uses the words holy conduct and godliness. Holy means set apart from sin and set apart to the ways of God. Godliness means imitating and following the way God would act.
Therefore, because Jesus is coming again, our lives in the last days should be characterized by hopeful looking and holy living. However, specifically, what does that look like in daily living?
The remainder of today’s text is built on four imperatives or four commands from Peter to these first century Christians and us. Because Jesus is coming again, work hard in being saved, remember the Lord is patient, be aware of false teachers, and grow in your relationship with Christ.
- Because Jesus is coming again soon, work hard in being saved, 2 Peter 3:14.
14 Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless.
In verse 14, Peter said be diligent or work hard to be found by Him in peace. He is talking about being in peace or at peace with God.
What does that mean? Paul tells us in Romans 5:1.
1 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
To be justified means to be made right. Every individual has that need because our sin has separated us from God.
How does it happen? It happens when you put your faith and trust in Christ to save you and not yourself. Nothing else and no one else can save except Jesus.
When you make that personal decision, you are justified. You are made right. You are saved. You are at peace with God through His Son, Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace.
Make sure you have made that personal decision. Work hard at it. No one can make it for you, and it doesn’t happen because you’re good enough or smart enough or come from a certain family.
Consequently, and don’t this, when you are at peace with God through Jesus, you are without spot and blameless. It isn’t because of you and your behavior. It is because of Jesus and His Sinlessness in you.
However, if you are saved, at peace with God, born again, your behavior ought to be without spot and blameless. As Christians, that is what we are called to brothers and sisters.
If the word is characterized by fighting and bickering, we should not be. If they world is characterized by immorality, we should not be. If the world is characterized by alcoholism, we should not be. If the world is characterized by consumerism, we should not be. Our position in Christ should dictate our practical and daily living.
- Because Jesus is coming again soon, remember that the Lord is patient, 2 Peter 3:15-16.
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.
Notice if you will, in 3:15, this is not only what Peter taught, but this is also what Paul taught. Peter may have been thinking about Romans 2:4 that we saw last week.
4 Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?
Peter said remember God’s patience with you, and He is tarrying and remember that the apostle Paul reminded you of the same truth. However, the false teachers have twisted this truth.
The “untaught” and “unstable” are the false teachers. They say He isn’t coming back or you have missed His coming. They twist and distort the truths of God’s Word.
Let me take just a side street here and make a comment on a golden nugget here in 3:16. Notice the phrase, “the rest of Scripture.” What is Peter including as Scripture? He is including the writings of Paul.
This is monumental that Peter under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit affirms that Paul’s writings are authoritative as Scripture. This is a big deal on a major issue in our country right now.
When talking about same-sex relationships, have you ever heard anyone say, “Jesus never spoke to the issue.” Actually, that isn’t true, but even if it was, Paul spoke to the issue in Romans 1, and Peter said that was Scripture.
Brothers and sisters, don’t be duped by the logic of the world. 2 Timothy 3:16 said that all Scripture was breathed out by God and therefore authoritative. Of course that includes the gospels, but it also includes the OT and the rest of the NT.
God’s Word speaks authoritatively on many more issues than the world thinks. Therefore, for Christians, that should settle many cultural issues.
- Because Jesus is coming again soon, be aware of the false teachers, 2 Peter 3:17.
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.
We saw this last week with the false teachers, but in the last days, we must be aware lest they lead us away. Peter warned that the false teachers wanted to lead us in to error.
Does this mean we can lose our salvation? It doesn’t if you’re truly saved. However, there are plenty who profess God but aren’t possessed by God.
If you’ve been truly and genuinely saved, you cannot and will not lose your salvation. However, if you haven’t been, you will. John said it like this in 1 John 2:19.
19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us.
- Because Jesus is coming again soon, grow in your relationship with Christ, 2 Peter 3:18.
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 this last verse, Peter encourages us to grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ. We must grow in grace and give Him glory.
One commentator wrote, “The Christian life is like…riding a bicycle. Unless you keep moving, you fall off!” Friend, if you don’t keep growing in your knowledge of Christ, you will spiritually dry up and wither away.
Every day, I read God’s Word, and He speaks to me. Every day, I pray, and I speak to Him. I do this not because I am a pastor. I do this because I am a Christian who wants to grow in my relationship with the Lord.
Brothers and sisters, because Jesus is coming again soon, let us be busy with our hopeful looking and our holy living.
If you have your Bibles, please take them and find 2 Peter 3:1. I want to share a message with you this morning entitled, “The Lord Uses a Different Watch!”
Today is our next to last message in 2 Peter. We will finish this short book next Sunday morning.
I hope you remember that 2 Peter is primarily about false teachers within this church. They were guilty of denying the Lord. That may have meant they denied His deity or humanity or Lordship. Regardless, they were heretics.
Peter uses this letter to warn these first century Christians and remind them of the truth. If you go back to chapter 1, you will find this idea or remember or reminding in 1:12, 1:13, and 1:15.
He is going to do that again in today’s text. You find the word “remind” in 3:1, the word “mindful” in 3:2, and the admonition, “do not forget” in 3:8, and he does this because they were prone to forget as are we.
Peter’s reminders for today are three. First, remember that the false teachers will mock. Second, remember that the Lord is patient. Third, remember that the day of the Lord is coming.
- Remember that the false teachers will mock, 2 Peter 3:1-7.
1 Beloved, I now write to you this second epistle (in both of which I stir up your pure minds by way of reminder), 2 that you may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us, the apostles of the Lord and Savior, 3 knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, 4 and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.” 5 For this they willfully forget: that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water, 6 by which the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water. 7 But the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word, are reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.
Peter’s reminder are certainly friendly reminders as evidenced with “Beloved.” We also are reminded that this is his second epistle. The first is called 1 Peter.
Peter’s first reminder regarding the false teachers and their mocking was originally said by the holy prophets of the OT and the apostles of the NT. Again, we are prone to forget. Therefore, we have to be reminded of what we have been taught by those that have gone before us.
What did those prophets and apostles say?
Malachi 4:1-2, 1 “For behold, the day is coming, burning like an oven, and all the proud, yes, all who do wickedly will be stubble. And the day which is coming shall burn them up,” Says the Lord of hosts, “That will leave them neither root nor branch. 2 But to you who fear My name The Sun of Righteousness shall arise with healing in His wings; And you shall go out and grow fat like stall-fed calves.
1 Thessalonians 5:2, 2 For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night.
There will be scoffers or mockers in the last days. The last days is the time between Jesus’ first and second comings, and to scoff or mock meant to doubt or disparage or make fun.
Specifically, these false teachers were doubting that Jesus was going to return, and they were also living like it. Notice verse 4.
Essentially, they were saying, look around. Nothing has changed. Jesus is not returning. It is a farce. You’ve been duped.
Furthermore, not only were they saying Jesus wasn’t coming, they were also living like it. Verse 3 says they were walking or living according to their own lusts. They were living as if there were no moral consequences to their actions, specifically to their sexual immorality.
Finally, about these false teachers, in verse 5, Peter rebutted their argument that nothing has changed. He reminded them of the global flood in Genesis 7.
God created the world and judged the world with a global flood. In the future, He will judge the world again. However, this time, it won’t be with water but with fire.
This truth was also testified by the holy prophets.
Isaiah 66:15-16, 15 For behold, the Lord will come with fire and with His chariots, like a whirlwind, to render His anger with fury, And His rebuke with flames of fire. 16 For by fire and by His sword The Lord will judge all flesh; And the slain of the Lord shall be many.
Daniel 7:9-10, 9 “I watched till thrones were put in place, And the Ancient of Days was seated; His garment was white as snow, And the hair of His head was like pure wool. His throne was a fiery flame, its wheels a burning fire; 10 A fiery stream issued and came forth from before Him. A thousand thousands ministered to Him; Ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him. The court was seated, And the books were opened.
- Remember that the Lord is patient, 2 Peter 3:8-9.
8 But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 9 The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.
Again, Peter used that term of endearment in giving this second reminder. The Lord uses a different watch than we do. Therefore, is very patient in spite of how it seems.
In verse 8, Peter quoted Psalm 90:4. Some have taken this verse and applied in too many places. I don’t think you can use this verse to say that God took 6000 years to create the earth because one day is like a thousand years. I also don’t think you can say that Jesus has really only been gone two since one day is like a thousand years to Him.
Peter is simply saying that the Lord doesn’t measure time necessarily like we do. We look at time linearly. He looks at time eternally.
Regardless, He is not slack or slow. Instead, He is patient. That is who He is and who He has always been. Both testaments confirm this truth.
Psalm 86:15, 15 But You, O Lord, are a God full of compassion, and gracious,
Longsuffering and abundant in mercy and truth.
Romans 2:4, 4 Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?
John Calvin in his commentary on 2 Peter said this, “So wonderful is his love towards mankind, that He would have them all to be saved, and is of His own self prepared to bestow salvation on the lost” (Epistles of Peter, p. 419).
Therefore, the Lord hasn’t returned not because He is slow. The Lord hasn’t returned because when He returns, there will be no more chances to turn to Him. His not returning is because of His patience and His desire for you to be saved.
- The day of the Lord is coming, 2 Peter 3:10.
10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up.
Peter says the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. That simile is used all throughout the New Testament to describe the return of Christ.
Matthew 24:42-44, 42 Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming. 43 But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. 44 Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.
1 Thessalonians 5:2, 2 For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night.
Revelation 16:15, 15 “Behold, I am coming as a thief. Blessed is he who watches, and keeps his garments, lest he walk naked and they see his shame.”
Simply put, Jesus is coming back at a time when you don’t expect in the same way you do know when to expect a thief.
So what does all this mean for us today? First, if you’re not saved, the Lord is patient, but His patience will be coming to an end. Call upon Him today, this morning to be saved from your sins. Stop taking advantage of His patience.
Second, if you are saved, quit living like Jesus isn’t coming again. Let that truth motivate and inspire your gospel sharing and your tithing giving and your holy living.
This morning is a special morning as it is our annual Back in the Game Sunday. In the next few minutes, we are going to be looking back at the previous 10.5 months and looking forward to the next church year that will begin in October.
In addition to looking back and looking forward, I will also be asking this question, “Why Does EBC Exist?” We will answer that question from Matthew’s Gospel, and I will be encouraging you to get “Back in the Game!”
When we look back, your initial thought might be that you prefer not. I understand. 2020 was a hard year for everyone, and 2021 is turning out to be only slightly better.
However, at EBC, God was still kind. God was still good. God still blessed us, and we need to celebrate that. Specifically, we need to celebrate some individuals and some families.
In today’s bulletin, you will find a Back in the Game Brochure. Please find that and notice on the very back panel. In 2020-2021, God added 23 new members to Emory Baptist Church. Of those 23, 6 were baptized by immersion and after salvation. Praise the Lord!
Not only do we want to look back, but we also want to look forward. In that same brochure from your bulletin, you will find some ministries and events that we hope you will consider joining.
First, our largest and in many ways, our most important ministry is our Sunday School Small Groups.
In this next church year, we will have 22 Sunday School Small Groups. I cannot say enough about the importance of you as an individual and family, as adults and teenagers and children, of being a part of one of these small groups that meet every Sunday morning at 9:15 all over our facility.
Beginning in September, almost all of those adult options will be studying Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon. Therefore, you don’t have to worry about different classes teaching different subjects. You simply decide on which teacher and which class members you like the best.
I have also given you a preview of what I will be preaching and teaching this fall. That includes Sunday mornings and Sunday nights and Wednesday nights.
I am not going to be going over every detail of this brochure. However, please notice some ministries that are beginning today. Both of them are children’s ministries beginning this afternoon. That is Bible Drill for 4-6 graders at 4:30 PM and KidzPraize for K-3 graders at 5:15 PM. Both will take place in the children’s building with Bible Drill upstairs and KidzPraize downstairs.
Also, please notice some immediate ministry needs as these will be a wonderful transition to my encouragement to get back in the game. All of these ministry needs are in our children’s ministry. We cannot say we want to be an alive church with young families if we will not volunteer to minister to children. That is hypocrisy, and God will not honor it. Therefore, consider this as your sign from God to step up and get back in the game.
Why Does EBC Exist and Get Back in the Game
More than informing you about calendars and schedules, I want to answer this question of why we exist and challenge you to get back in the game at Emory Baptist Church. God’s Word tells me that EBC exists for three reasons, and these three reasons could also be considered or called our purposes.
However, they aren’t just the three purposes for our church. They are also the three purposes for every EBC member.
Therefore, we exist and you exist to love God, love people, and make disciples. Summer is over. Vacations are done. School is starting. Sports and band have begun so get back in the game.
- Love God, Matthew 22:36-38
36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?” 37 Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and great commandment.
Our first purpose and expectation is to love God. In Matthew 22, Jesus was asked by a lawyer what is the great commandment in the law. In short, Jesus responded with love God. You are to love Him with everything you are. You are to love Him with your heart and your soul and your mind. Consequently, this is the first and greatest commandment.
How do we love God? The answer is worship. We love God by worship individually and worshipping collectively as a church.
Paul called every follower of Christ to worship God individually in Romans 12:1. The NLT translates it this way.
1 And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him.
Monday through Saturday, my challenge to you is to love God by worshipping Him individually with your daily living. That includes your job and your marriage and your family and your school and your games and your entertainment and your finances and your health. Love God.
We are also to love God by worshipping collectively as a church. Hebrews 10:25 contains a warning for me and you.
25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.
This verse contains a command not to forsake the assembling of the saints in worship when they meet. In other words, make sure Sunday worship is a priority for you and your family.
May I also say this? Regular worship attendance today has dropped to twice a month. That’s not how you would play a game. You don’t just play half the game. As a player, you should be ready to play the entire game.
Therefore, don’t settle for twice a month or even three times a month. If you are a member of EBC, I want to challenge you to be here when EBC meets. Don’t forsake the assembly.
Come and worship the Lord with this body of Christ, and don’t just do it on Sunday mornings. This church meets on Sunday nights and Wednesday nights.
I know…you’re busy and tired. Guess what? You’re in good company, and moms and dads, dropping off your kids while you go and run errands or do whatever is sowing seeds that don’t want to reap.
The bottom line is that you need this church and this church needs you. Love God by worshipping Him individually and worshipping Him collectively.
- Love People, Matthew 22:39-40
39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”
In answering the lawyer in Matthew 22, Jesus didn’t stop with love God. He added love people too. He said the second is like the first. In addition to loving God, you must love your neighbor as well. In other words, love people.
By the way, if you struggle in loving people, the problem isn’t the people. The problem is your life for God because if you love God, you will naturally love the people that God created in His image the same way He created you.
How can you love people at EBC? You can be a part of those 24 small group Sunday School classes. You can love people through fellowship. You can love people through life experience and discussion and learning of God’s word. I said this previously, but the fact is that we need one another. See 1 Corinthians 12:14-18.
14 For in fact the body is not one member but many. 15 If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I am not of the body,” is it therefore not of the body? 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I am not of the body,” is it therefore not of the body? 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where would be the smelling? 18 But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased.
This is the body of Christ. You can love people through your participation in one of our small groups.
You can also love people by serving them through ministry. Did you know that if you have been born-again, God has given you at least one spiritual gift that is to be used in serving this body of believers? You can love people by your service to them.
1 Corinthians 12:7, 7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all.
God has given each member a gift or manifestation of the Holy Spirit to be used in serving or for the profit or benefit of all, the entire body.
Brothers and sisters, how are you serving? Please consider our children’s ministries again. We have needs, and we need you.
However, you could also serve in the choir. You could serve in our youth ministry. Our women’s ministry needs concession stand workers for the Rains Wildcat Football Games starting in September. You could serve in our Prayer Room or Backpack Buddies or a new ministry called Little Food Pantry.
How are you loving people through service and ministry? Don’t just come and sit. Come and serve.
- Make Disciples, Matthew 28:19-20
Matthew 28:19-20, 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.
You can know what Jesus said in Matthew 28 was important because it was the last thing He said to us. Not only do we exist to love God and to love people, but we exist to make disciples.
That starts with sharing the gospel, and that is not just the responsibility or obligation or ministry of some but of all.
If you’ve been saved, the power of the Holy Spirit has come upon you. If that is true, you are to be His witnesses. Every believer is to be a witness.
On Sunday mornings in September and October, I will be preaching on “Every Believer a Witness.” We will also be offering Evangelism Equip once quarter on Saturday mornings.
We also make disciples by small group Bible studies. Again, you need to be, and please hear me, one of the best places this can happen is through a Sunday School Small Group.
Furthermore, you can see we have other small groups that meet throughout the week and throughout the month where you can be a disciple and where you can have the opportunity to disciple others.
So I want you to leave this morning informed and challenged to get back in the game at EBC by loving God, loving people, and making disciples. Not only is this information and a challenge, but this also why we exist as a church and church members.
This morning, we are taking a break from your study of 1 Peter, and I want to take the opportunity not only to lead us in taking the Lord’s Supper in just a few minutes but also understanding the Lord’s Supper before we take it.
Today’s sermon will be more of teaching than preaching as I attempt to answer some of the most important questions regarding the Lord’s Supper. As a matter of fact, you might call them our Top 10 Questions about the Lord’s Supper.
- Is the Lord’s Supper a sacrament or an ordinance?
Our friends from liturgical congregations, such as Catholics and Episcopalians and Methodists and Presbyterians call it a “sacrament.” When I say, “liturgical,” I mean related to liturgy or ritual in a worship service.
Those in the free church tradition, meaning there is no pope over us or hierarchy for that matter (autonomous), have chosen not to use the word “sacrament” because not only does it mean what is sacred, but also it has come to mean dispensing or giving out of grace or a tool or vehicle for salvation. In other words, it saves you.
Baptists believe that salvation is through grace alone and faith alone in Christ alone. Therefore, we have chosen to use the word “ordinance” which means ordained or ordered and specifically ordered by the Lord Jesus.
When we baptize here at EBC, we are practicing one ordinance. In a few minutes, we will practice what we see as the other, the Lord’s Supper.
Therefore, Baptists recognize only two ordinances in the NT for the local church: baptism and the Lord’s Supper.
- What should we call this ordinance that has many names?
There are actually several of what I would call biblical names for the ordinance that we most often call “The Lord’s Supper.”
In Acts 2:42, Luke called it “the breaking of bread.”
Acts 2:42, 42 And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.
In 1 Corinthians 10:16, Paul used the term, “communion.”
1 Corinthians 10:16, 16 The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?
By communion, we mean a mutual participation or sharing or fellowship with one another. As the body of Christ, we commune with the Lord and one another.
In 1 Corinthians 11:20, Paul used the term that is probably most common in Baptist churches, but this actually an indictment to the Corinthian Church.
1 Corinthians 11:20, 20 Therefore when you come together in one place, it is not to eat the Lord’s Supper.
They were coming together to sin rather than to take the Lord’s Supper.
Another term that is often used in more liturgical churches like I mentioned previously, Catholics and Episcopalians and Methodists and Presbyterians, is the word “Eucharist.”
It comes from a New Testament word that means to give thanks. Listen to 1 Corinthians 11:24.
1 Corinthians 11:24, 24 and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.”
A final term that I want to mention that does not have its origin in the Bible is the term “mass.”
It was used as the closing blessing or benediction of any worship service.
In the Roman Catholic Church, it eventually was applied to the liturgy of the Word or preaching and the liturgy of the Eucharist or Communion.
- Do we understand the Lord’s Supper to be a “Christian ordinance” or a “Church ordinance?”
In other words, are the ordinances of baptism and the Lord’s Supper given to any Christian to observe on any occasion and in any circumstance or were they given to the local Church to administer?
Historically, and I believe biblically, these ordinances were given to the local church, and here’s why. Listen to the 1 Corinthians 11:17-34 and notice the repetition of a particular phrase.
17 Now in giving these instructions I do not praise you, since you come together not for the better but for the worse. 18 For first of all, when you come together as a church, I hear that there are divisions among you, and in part I believe it. 19 For there must also be factions among you, that those who are approved may be recognized among you. 20 Therefore when you come together in one place, it is not to eat the Lord’s Supper. 21 For in eating, each one takes his own supper ahead of others; and one is hungry and another is drunk. 22 What! Do you not have houses to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God and shame those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you in this? I do not praise you. 23 For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; 24 and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” 25 In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes. 27 Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. 28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 29 For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. 30 For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep. 31 For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged. 32 But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world. 33 Therefore, my brethren, when you come together to eat, wait for one another. 34 But if anyone is hungry, let him eat at home, lest you come together for judgment. And the rest I will set in order when I come.
On five occasions, Paul speaks of coming together. Individual Christians don’t come together. Churches come together.
Therefore, again, I would contend along with Baptists through the years, that believers are to participate in baptism and the Lord’s Supper under the authority and administration of a local church.
Consequently, when we take teenagers to youth camp and preteens to children’s camp, we don’t go to camps that baptize and take the Lord’s Supper. Why? Because that is not the local church.
Furthermore, the local church is also not your uncle Joe and your aunt Mary and your cousins. Therefore, we don’t recommend being baptized by your uncle in his pool or taking the Lord’s Supper on vacation with your grandparents.
Why? Because they aren’t Christians. No, because they aren’t a local church.
- When did the Lord’s Supper begin?
The Lord’s Supper began with Jesus and is recounted for us in Matthew 26, Mark 14, and Luke 22.
Let’s look at Mark’s account beginning in Mark 14:12.
12 Now on the first day of Unleavened Bread, when they killed the Passover lamb, His disciples said to Him, “Where do You want us to go and prepare, that You may eat the Passover?” 13 And He sent out two of His disciples and said to them, “Go into the city, and a man will meet you carrying a pitcher of water; follow him. 14 Wherever he goes in, say to the master of the house, ‘The Teacher says, “Where is the guest room in which I may eat the Passover with My disciples?”’ 15 Then he will show you a large upper room, furnished and prepared; there make ready for us.” 16 So His disciples went out, and came into the city, and found it just as He had said to them; and they prepared the Passover. 17 In the evening He came with the twelve. 18 Now as they sat and ate, Jesus said, “Assuredly, I say to you, one of you who eats with Me will betray Me.” 19 And they began to be sorrowful, and to say to Him one by one, “Is it I?” And another said, “Is it I?” 20 He answered and said to them, “It is one of the twelve, who dips with Me in the dish. 21 The Son of Man indeed goes just as it is written of Him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been good for that man if he had never been born.” 22 And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.” 23 Then He took the cup, and when He had given thanks He gave it to them, and they all drank from it. 24 And He said to them, “This is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many. 25 Assuredly, I say to you, I will no longer drink of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.” 26 And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.
As you can see from Mark 14, the Lord’s Supper is closely tied to the Passover. However, do we remember what the Passover was?
- What is the Passover?
The nation of Israel was being held captive by Pharaoh of Egypt. The Lord had brought nine plagues on Pharaoh and his people in an effort to force him to let His people go. However, he still refused.
The Passover is then introduced in Exodus 11 and described in Exodus 12:12-14.
As a tenth plague, God had announced that He would take the life of every first-born Egyptian male child and animal.
Consequently, each Jewish family was to sacrifice an unblemished lamb and mark the doorway of their home with its blood.
The Lord would then see the blood and pass over that home in His looking for the first-born Egyptian male children and animals.
Exodus 12:12-14, 12 ‘For I will pass through the land of Egypt on that night, and will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the Lord. 13 Now the blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you; and the plague shall not be on you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt. 14 ‘So this day shall be to you a memorial; and you shall keep it as a feast to the Lord throughout your generations. You shall keep it as a feast by an everlasting ordinance.
Therefore, the Passover and the Lord’s Supper are tied together in that the Lord Jesus is the perfect Lamb whose blood was shed. When that blood is applied to your heart by Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, the judgment of God passes over you and gives you eternal life in heaven.
- What elements should be included in the Lord’ Supper?
1 Corinthians 11:23-26 mentions two: the bread and the cup.
1 Corinthians 11:23-26, 23 For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; 24 and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” 25 In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes.
Therefore, we normally offer unleavened bread and grape juice.
Why unleavened bread? Leaven in the Bible is most often used to symbolize sin.
The first church probably used a single loaf of a bread, and drank wine from a common cup.
When church members ask me about using real win so we can be more biblical, I ask them if they want to use a common cup as well to be more biblical.
For some reason, they usually reconsider.
Christy and I, have actually used a common cup and real wine when taking the Lord’s Supper at a Baptist church in Kiev, Ukraine. I don’t recommend it.
- When should we take the Lord’s Supper?
Some of you will probably be surprised at my answer to this, but the Churches of Christ got it right.
In the New Testament, the Lord’s Supper was taken weekly…every time the church met…and probably on Sunday night.
When my family and I were in San Antonio a few weeks ago, we attended a non-denominational church that celebrated the Lord’s Supper every Sunday.
Acts 20:7, 7 Now on the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul, ready to depart the next day, spoke to them and continued his message until midnight.
My experience growing up at FBC Venus and FBC Alvarado, the Lord’s Supper was observed on a quarterly basis.
I think that has also been true here at EBC in the past.
Personally, I prefer monthly compared to quarterly, and I understand but don’t completely agree with the argument against weekly.
- What does the Lord’s Supper mean?
The answer to this question is what separates denominations.
By the way, I don’t think having denominations is bad when we separate over Biblical interpretation.
While it won’t be that way in heaven, I don’t think it is bad here on earth…especially since we can’t interpret perfectly here, but we will there.
Our Catholic friends hold to what is called transubstantiation. Transubstantiation “simply means ‘the bread and the wine actually become (or are transformed into) the body and the blood of Christ. This happens at the moment the priest says, ‘This is my body’ during the celebration of the mass’” (White, 144).
Where did this idea originate? See John 6:53-56.
John 6:53-56, 53 Then Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. 54 Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. 55 For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. 56 He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him.
Our Lutheran friends differ just a little from the Catholic Church. They hold to what is called consubstantiation. This means “that the bread and the wine contain the body and blood of the Lord but the elements themselves are not substantively changed” (White, 146).
Our Presbyterian friends hold to the Spiritual Presence view of communion.
They believe that Christ is present in the Lord’s Supper, but it cannot be His literal body and blood because He ascended into the heavens.
Most Baptists believe in what is called the Memorial or Symbolic view of Communion.
This view is credited to Ulrich Zwingli who said the Lord’s Supper is taken in memory of what Christ has done, and the elements are symbolic of the Lord’s spiritual presence (Hammett, 280).
In other words, the bread symbolizes Jesus’ body. The cup symbolizes Jesus’ blood, and we do this in remembrance of Him.
- Why do we take the Lord’s Supper?
We find our answers to this question from 1 Corinthians 10-11, and there are four.
First, we take the Lord’s Supper to renew our commitment to Christ and to one another, brothers and sisters in Christ who are mostly committed to one church, Emory Baptist Church.
1 Corinthians 10:17, 17 For we, though many, are one bread and one body; for we all partake of that one bread.
Second, we take the Lord’s Supper to give thanks.
1 Corinthians 11:24,…24 and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.”
Third, we take the Lord’s Supper to remember what Jesus did for us through His death on the cross.
1 Corinthians 11:24-25, 24 and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” 25 In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.”
Fourth, we take the Lord’s Supper to proclaim the message of Christ.
1 Corinthians 11:26, 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes.
- Who should be invited to take the Lord’s Supper?
The answer to this question will be different depending on how you interpret the Bible.
From my understanding of the Scriptures and as pastor of this church and not any other church, I believe the Scriptures speak to two general qualifications for taking the Lord’s Supper.
First, you should be a follower of Jesus Christ. It makes no sense for a lost person to take the Lord’s Supper. See 1 Corinthians 10:21.
1 Corinthians 10:21, 21 You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons; you cannot partake of the Lord’s Table and of the table of demons.
Keep in mind moms and dads that this applies to children as well.
Caleigh and Sarah didn’t start taking the Lord’s Supper until they were in the fifth grade, and Caroline started taking it when she was in the third grade.
That is not meant to be mean or insensitive. That is an effort to be biblically responsible.
Therefore, don’t neglect the opportunity that taking the Lord’s Supper brings for you to share the gospel with your young children.
The second requirement for taking the Lord’s Supper is that you be in right standing with the Lord and with your neighbor. See 1 Corinthians 11:27-30.
1 Corinthians 11:27-30, 27 Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. 28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 29 For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. 30 For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep.
What does it mean to be in right standing with the Lord and with your neighbor?
- Is there any unconfessed sin in your life?
- Is there any unrepentant sin in your life?
- Are you fighting with your spouse?
- Are you fighting with your parents?
- Are you unforgiving and bitter toward your neighbor?
These are the types of questions that you should ask every time you take the Lord’s Supper, and on some occasions, it would be better if you don’t take it all.
Why? Look again at 1 Corinthians 11:29-30.
29 For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. 30 For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep.
In Corinth, these Corinthian Believers were using the occasion of the Lord’s Supper to engage in sexual and drunken debauchery.
As a result, the Lord disciplined them with sickness and even death. Don’t run that risk when you take the Lord’s Supper.
There is one last thought I need to share regarding being in right standing with the Lord.
I don’t think you have to be a member of EBC to receive the Lord’s Supper.
However, as Baptists, we understand believer’s baptism to be an act of obedience for every Christian, for every follower of Christ.
In the same we way that we invite those who are saved and baptized to join EBC every Sunday morning, we invite those that are saved and baptized to take the Lord’s Supper.
To require baptism for church membership but not to take the Lord’s Supper would undermine our commitment to baptism and an act of hypocrisy.
We invite anyone who is a member of EBC and anyone who could be a member of EBC to take the Lord’s Supper.
You can be Baptist or Catholic or Lutheran or Methodist or Pentecostal or Presbyterian as long as you have been born-again and are in right standing with the Lord and have followed through with believer’s baptism by immersion.
But before we take the Lord’s Supper, I invite you to repent and be saved from your sins? If you’re without Christ this morning, would you answer the call this morning to put your faith and trust in Him as Lord and Savior of your life?
Would you unite with Emory Baptist Church this morning if you are guest and the Lord is leading you formally join this church?
Our invitation is for you!
If you have your Bibles, please take them and find 2 Peter 2:10. This morning, I want to give somewhat of a disclaimer as I begin.
Have you ever taken some medicine that didn’t taste good? We probably all have. Why did you take that medicine? Even though it didn’t, take good, it was good for you.
That is a good way to look at today’s message. It probably isn’t going to taste that good, but it is good for us. We continue this morning looking at and talking about the false teachers of 2 Peter, and I have entitled my message, “Senseless Animals.”
From today’s text, I want to show you that these false teachers, who Peter calls natural brute beasts or senseless animals, were unruly in their attitudes, unrighteous in their actions, and untruthful in their aim.
- 2 Peter’s False Teachers were unruly in their attitude, 2 Peter 2:10-11.
10 and especially those who walk according to the flesh in the lust of uncleanness and despise authority. They are presumptuous, self-willed. They are not afraid to speak evil of dignitaries, 11 whereas angels, who are greater in power and might, do not bring a reviling accusation against them before the Lord.
In our English translations, verse 10 is a continuation of verse 9 even through in the language of the NT, the end of verse 9 is the end of a sentence. Peter is continuing to describe the godless of verse 9.
Remember from last week. We can count on God to deliver the godly and destroy the godless, and Peter considered these false teachers to be godless. They were church members, but they had denied the Lord.
In the first two verses of today’s text, we see the false teachers’ unruly attitude manifest in three ways. First, they despised authority. Specially, they denied the authority of their local church.
Did you know that inherent in the idea of local church membership is the local church’s authority in your life? That is exactly why Jesus told His followers in Matthew 18 that if a church member continues to live in public, egregious, and unrepentant sin, the local church can remove him or her from membership.
This local church challenged the teaching and the behavior of these false teachers, and they didn’t like it. They despised authority.
Second, they were presumptuous and self-willed. They had no inhibitions, and they only wanted to please self. They weren’t selfless but selfish.
Third, they were loud and boisterous. They had the audacity to revile or to blaspheme or to speak evil of angels. This last part of 2:10 and then leading into 2:11 is somewhat mysterious.
What angels is Peter talking about? We don’t exactly know. What we do know is that speaking evil of the angels was very audacious because the angels didn’t even speak evil of the false teachers when they certainly deserved it and the angels had the right to do it.
- 2 Peter’s False Teachers were unrighteous in their actions, 2 Peter 2:12-17.
12 But these, like natural brute beasts made to be caught and destroyed, speak evil of the things they do not understand, and will utterly perish in their own corruption, 13 and will receive the wages of unrighteousness, as those who count it pleasure to carouse in the daytime. They are spots and blemishes, carousing in their own deceptions while they feast with you, 14 having eyes full of adultery and that cannot cease from sin, enticing unstable souls. They have a heart trained in covetous practices, and are accursed children. 15 They have forsaken the right way and gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Beor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness; 16 but he was rebuked for his iniquity: a dumb donkey speaking with a man’s voice restrained the madness of the prophet. 17 These are wells without water, clouds carried by a tempest, for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever.
The beginning of 2:12 says these false teachers were like natural brute beasts or senseless animals. They were like animals that could not be tamed. They were born solely for the purpose of capturing and killing.
What actions of theirs was unrighteous and how do we know? We know their actions were unrighteous because the Bible tells us so. That was true of their actions, and it is true of our actions.
First, they spoke evil. Specifically, spoke evil when they had no knowledge. They were speaking ignorantly.
James 4:11, 11 Do not speak evil of one another, brethren. He who speaks evil of a brother and judges his brother, speaks evil of the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge.
Second, they caroused in the daytime. Your translation may say, “reveled” in the daytime. “Reveling” was normally thought of as a nighttime activity. This was sexual immorality.
Something else that is interesting about this word. It literally means softness or effeminate. It appears that these false teachers were not only reveling in public heterosexual activity but also public homosexual activity.
Furthermore, it seems they were reveling in order to show off in front of other church members. Verse 13 says they “feast with you.” Some believe their reveling was associated with the early church’s fellowship meal that happened as a part of the Lord’s Supper.
Luke 21:34, “But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly.
Third, had eyes full of adultery. Peter says the false teachers have eyes full of adultery or literally eyes full of the adulteress. This means that every woman they saw was one they visualized having sex with. They never ceased from sinning.
Matthew 5:27-30, 27 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell.
Fourth, they were deceptive and seductive. Peter says they “entice unstable souls.”
To entice means to catch with bait. They lured these unstable souls, who were the new converts. They were the young Christians. The false teachers were taking advantage of the easily impressionable through deception.
1 Peter 2:1, Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking,
Fifth, they were guilty of coveting. These false teachers had a heart “trained” in coveting. The word for “trained” is where we get our English word “gymnasium.” It literally means to exercise or to practice. These false teachers practiced their greediness.
Exodus 20:17, 17 “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor’s.”
In 2:15, Peter said the false teachers had forsaken the right way and gone astray. What does this verse imply? There is a right way and a wrong way. Peter says there is a way that is right, and there is a way that is wrong.
Peter believed in moral absolutes. God believes in moral absolutes.
In verses 16-17, Peter compared the false teachers with Balaam in the OT. He was guilty of greed and not listening to God.
Peter also said they were like wells without water and clouds driven away by the storm. Peter basically said they were promised a lot and delivered a little.
- 2 Peter’s False Teachers were untruthful in their aim, 2 Peter 2:18-22.
18 For when they speak great swelling words of emptiness, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through lewdness, the ones who have actually escaped from those who live in error. 19 While they promise them liberty, they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by whom a person is overcome, by him also he is brought into bondage. 20 For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning. 21 For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them. 22 But it has happened to them according to the true proverb: “A dog returns to his own vomit,” and, “a sow, having washed, to her wallowing in the mire.”
These false teachers spoke with great, swelling words, but they didn’t deliver. They promised satisfaction but delivered emptiness.
Second, they promised pleasure but delivered sin. They delivered lives lived in error, the wrong.
Third, they promised freedom and liberty and delivered slavery and bondage. They were enslaved to the very master from which they promised freedom.
Consequently, these false teachers will spend an eternity separated from Christ. See verses 12, 14, 17, and following.
Verse 21 says they knew the holy commandment or the entire Christian Message, the Gospel, but they turn away. These false teachers aren’t an example of losing their salvation. These false teachers are examples of giving one impression for others in public and never having been born again from within by the Holy Spirit.
They, like dogs, return to their vomit. They keep doing what they always have done, and like a pig, they love they mud. That’s who they are.
I leave you this morning with three applications. First, those who are truly saved will persevere. Those who aren’t won’t. They false teachers weren’t, and they didn’t.
Second, no church is exempt or immune from false teachers. Everything that is said from this pulpit and our other teaching settings must be consistent with the Bible.
Finally, I want to warn you of some today’s false teachers. I could speak about the false teachers of Mormonism or Jehovah’s Witness, but I’m not. I could speak about the false teachers of Islam or Buddhism, but I’m not.
I want to speak to you about the false teachers of the LGBTQ Agenda, Black Lives Matter, and White Nationalism.
First, homosexuality is not the unforgivable sin, homosexuals should not be treated as second class citizens, and are welcome to attend EBC at any time to hear the gospel.
However, love is not love. Homosexuality is not God’s design for relationships or to populate the earth, and the false teachers of this agenda don’t want to and never have simply wanted to normalize this behavior. They will demand the celebration of this behavior by everyone.
Second, I want to warn you about the false teachers of the Black Lives Matter Organization. To be clear, black lives do matter. Every black live matters to God and should to us because every life matters to God and should to us.
Racism is real. It is an evil reality of our country and our world. It was an evil beginning to our Southern Baptist Convention. If you think racism doesn’t still exist today, you are naïve at best and a liar at worst.
At our previous, my family and I experienced racists first hand, and in some part, I stand here today as your pastor because of their evil. However, the false teachers of the BLM Organization are anti-bible and anti-gospel.
Finally, I want to warn you about the false teachers of White Nationalism. To be clear, I am not ashamed of being white, and I am proud to be an American.
I will always put my hand over my heart when I say the pledge to the American Flag, and not only will I stand for the National Anthem, I’ll do more than many of you. I will sing it in public.
However, my white skin is not superior, and no one’s non-white skin is inferior, and God’s favorite country is Israel and not the USA even though I think the USA is the greatest country in the world having traveled to 5 continents and spent time in 15 plus countries.
I know that many of you think the same. However, if your allegiance is to this flag before it is to this flag, we have a problem.
Last Sunday, Bro. Ronnie introduced the false teachers of 2 Peter to us. Remember, these were individuals within the church who claimed to be followers of Christ but were teaching a false gospel.
From the text, their main problem was that they denied Christ. It isn’t clear whether they denied His deity or His Lordship or even His humanity. Regardless, all are heretical. Furthermore, they were infatuated with money as evidenced by their covetousness, and they also exploited the body with their deceptive words trying to get more money.
Consequently, God will judge them. We know this because of some form of destroy that Peter uses on four occasions in three verses: 1, 1, 2, 3.
Today, we continue thinking about the false teachers. However, Peter will also offer us a word of encouragement. The title of my sermon this morning is “You Can Count on God!”
- You can count on God to deliver the godly, 2 Peter 2:9a.
9 then the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations and to reserve the unjust under punishment for the day of judgment.
In the language of the NT, verses 4-9 are actually one sentence. However, the main points of this sentence aren’t found until verse 9.
You can count on God to deliver the godly out of temptations. Our text gives two examples.
First, God delivered Noah and his family in 2:5. 2:5 says that God saved Noah.
“Saved” means to guard a person so that he may remain safe. This was certainly true of Noah and his wife and his three sons and their wives. See Genesis 7:1, 23.
1 Then the Lord said to Noah, “Come into the ark, you and all your household, because I have seen that you are righteous before Me in this generation.
23 So He destroyed all living things which were on the face of the ground: both man and cattle, creeping thing and bird of the air. They were destroyed from the earth. Only Noah and those who were with him in the ark remained alive.
Secondly, God not only delivered Noah and his family, but He also delivered Lot. 2:7 tells us that God delivered righteous Lot.
Notice it doesn’t say “perfect Lot.” Some would say that Lot was hardly righteous, and he certainly wasn’t the picture of godliness. As a matter of fact, Genesis 6 tells us that he was depraved offering his daughters to those who wanted to sexually abuse Him, was a drunkard, and had to be drug out of Sodom and Gomorrah.
However, God did rescue him from that ungodliness. Peter called him righteous because he had believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness just like Abraham.
By the way, let me caution you about holding up biblical characters as examples to follow. Make no mistake about it. There is only hero of the Bible. It wasn’t Noah or Abraham or Moses or David or Mary or Paul or Peter or John. It was Jesus!
- You can count on God to destroy the godless, 2:9b.
9 then the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations and to reserve the unjust under punishment for the day of judgment.
In addition to delivering the godly, 2:9 also says that God will destroy the ungodly. This present tense participle translated “under punishment” in the NKJV denotes continuous action. There will be no end to their punishment.
Next Sunday, we will look some more at the characteristics of these false teachers. However, for the rest of today’s sermon, Peter gives us three examples from the OT of when God destroyed the ungodly.
First, God destroyed some angels in 2:4. What angels is Peter referencing? It is really hard to know.
Some believe this is reference to Satan and the original fall. Jesus spoke about it in Luke 10:18, and it could possibly be true of Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28.
18 And He said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.
Others believe that Peter is referencing a controversial scene in Genesis 6 where angels procreate with humans since Peter’s other examples are from Genesis. However, the bottom line is that is hard to know, but God destroyed these godless angels.
Second, God destroyed the ancient world in 2:5. Again, this example is also in Genesis and is the global flood. By the way, our Wednesday Men’s and Woman’s Bible Studies that will start back after Labor Day will be studying Genesis 1-11. If your schedule will allow, I would love for you to join us.
You know the story. Noah and his family were godly. The rest were ungodly, and God destroyed them. See Genesis 6:5-7.
5 Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. 6 And the Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. 7 So the Lord said, “I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, both man and beast, creeping thing and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them.”
Thirdly, God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah in verses 2:6-8. The story of Sodom and Gomorrah can be found in Genesis 18 and 19.
The residents of Sodom and Gomorrah wanted nothing to do with God’s design for heterosexual relationships. They longed for homosexual relationships.
2 Peter 2:7-8 says that Lot was tormented by what he felt and what he saw and what he heard. In some ways, we can sympathize with him in 2021.
One commentator described these examples like this. The angels demonstrate the height of God’s judgment. The entire human race demonstrates the breadth of God’s judgement, and Sodom and Gomorrah demonstrate the depth of God’s judgment. You can count on God to destroy the godless.
So let me close with three applications. First, be confident that God knows how. You can then fill in the blank. God knows how. Trust that. Be assured. Be confident.
Second, be comforted because God will deliver the godly and destroy the godless. I don’t know what your temptation is today, but God does, and He will provide the appropriate strength and escape for you.
Finally, be cautious. The angels’ sin was their pride. The ancient world lived like there was no god. Sodom and Gomorrah was guilty of homosexual immorality, but are you guilty of heterosexual immorality?
Don’t point your finger so much at the sins of others that you fail to deal with your own sins. Repent of your own sin, and trust God to deal with others. See Luke 13:1-5.
1 There were present at that season some who told Him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. 2 And Jesus answered and said to them, “Do you suppose that these Galileans were worse sinners than all other Galileans, because they suffered such things? 3 I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish. 4 Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them, do you think that they were worse sinners than all other men who dwelt in Jerusalem? 5 I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.”
If you have your Bibles this morning, please take them and find 2 Peter 1:12-21. I want to share a message with you entitled, “Remember, Remember, Remember…You Can Trust God the Bible!”
Today will be our third message in our study of 2 Peter. In the first, Peter told us that at salvation, God gave us everything we need to live a life of godliness. That included the knowledge of God, the power of God, the promises of God, the nature of God, and the protection of God.
In the second, Peter told us that because of the Holy Spirit dwelling in us, we need to cultivate our faith in the process of sanctification by growing in our virtue and knowledge and self-control and perseverance and godliness and brotherly kindness and love.
Today, Peter is going to tell us that we can trust God’s Word, and this is very important today and was very important then. God’s Word has always been under attack as to its reliability, and especially by the false teachers that we will be introduced to next Sunday.
Beginning in verse 12, Peter tells us his rationale for writing. His first reason is because you are saved. That is what he means with “For this reason.” That is also what he means with “you know and are established in the present truth.”
His second reason for writing is because we are prone to forget. Notice the word “remind” in verses 12, 13, and 15. I often tell Christy that I have forgotten more than I know. God teaches us a lesson, but we forget.
Peter is writing to remind us. Keep in mind this is his second letter, and gospel of Mark is written from his perspective. Perhaps he had these in mind as ways that he would remind us.
His third reason for writing is because he was about to die. That is what he says in verses 13 and 14. How did he know this? Jesus showed him.
At the time of this letter, Peter was probably in his seventies. He was probably in a Roman prison cell and put there by Nero. Perhaps he was thinking about John 21:18 as church history tells us that he was crucified upside down per his request because he was not as good as Jesus.
18 Most assuredly, I say to you, when you were younger, you girded yourself and walked where you wished; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish.”
By the way, just as the Lord knew the time of Peter’s death, He knows the time of yours. See Job 14:5.
5 Since his days are determined, The number of his months is with You; You have appointed his limits, so that he cannot pass.
God has numbered your days. I hope that alleviates any fear you might have of living life to its fullest.
I had a church member tell me one time that she was afraid of going on an international mission trip because of the flying that was involved. She thought that was too risky. I politely reminded her that when her days were completed, God can take you just as easily at home as He can in an airplane.
Beginning in verse 16, Peter tells us the reasons why we can trust God’s Bible.
- You can trust the Bible because of Jesus’s Transfiguration, 2 Peter 1:16-18.
16 For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty. 17 For He received from God the Father honor and glory when such a voice came to Him from the Excellent Glory: “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” 18 And we heard this voice which came from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain.
In verses 16-18, Peter recounts his personal experience of the Transfiguration, and this personal experience is not a cunningly devised fable or myth. Peter gives a summary here, but the full account is in Matthew 17:1-8.
This personal experience was a preview of heaven after the second coming of Christ. What does it teach us? In, what did Moses and Elijah represent? Moses represented the Law. Elijah represented the prophets.
Next, notice Peter’s comments in 17:4. What was Peter thinking? He was thinking Moses, Elijah and Jesus were equal.
However, look at 17:5-8. God said, “Hear Him.” He doesn’t say hear Moses or Elijah but hear My Son.
Finally, who is left all alone in 17:8? It is Jesus Christ. He is our only hope for salvation and our only standard for life and living because God endorsed Him as such.
- You can trust the Bible because of Scripture’s Illumination, 2 Peter 1:19.
19 And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.
God’s prophetic word is not just the OT prophets but the entirety of Scripture, and it tells us what is going to happen in the future, and is confirmed when it happens. It shines light in dark places, and God’s prophetic word will continue to be confirmed until the return of Christ, the Morning Star.
However, God’s Word not illuminates the future. It also illuminates or sheds light on how to have a godly marriage and how to raise your children and how to manage your money and how to conduct your lives and how to treat others.
- You can trust the Bible because of God’s Inspiration, 2 Peter 1:20-21.
20 knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, 21 for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.
No prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation. Said another way, “No individual is entitled to interpret prophecy, or Scripture generally, according to his or her personal whim.” The meaning of Scripture is objective, not subjective.
John Piper, “The meaning of Scripture does not change with every new reader or every new reading. It cannot be twisted to mean whatever we like. It is what it is, unchanging and unending…there is a true meaning and there are false meanings and we must submit our minds to trace out what is really there rather than presuming that whatever pops into our minds at our first reading is the true meaning.”
1:21 confirms that the Bible does not just contain the words of God, but it IS the Word of God full and complete. The authors were men moved by the Holy Spirit spoken to by God.
It wasn’t just Peter, but Peter under the superintendence of God. It wasn’t just Paul, but Paul under the superintendence of God. All of the 40 plus authors were under the superintendence of God when they wrote.
Moved by the HS is word that means putting wind in the sails. The authors put up their sails by writing according to their personalities and experiences, but the HS put the wind in those sails. They were inspired by God.
I have already said that you can trust God with your marriage and your children and your money and your daily living.
However, let me close with these two applications. First, you can trust the Bible when it says that sin separates you from a holy God, but God doesn’t want you to stay separated. Therefore, He sent Jesus to die on the cross because He loves you that much and wants to have a personal and saving relationship with you.
Second, if you have been saved, you can trust the Bible when it says the HS now lives within you. Scripture calls Him our Comforter, and regardless of your trial and or tribulation, the HS wants to comfort you and remind you of God’s love for you.
You can also trust the Bible when it says that God will never leave you or forsake you. He may not take you out of a trial, but He is right there with you in the middle of it.
Remember, remember, remember…you can trust the Bible!
If you have your Bibles, please take them and turn to 2 Peter 1:5. I want to share a message with you this morning entitled, “The Work of Salvation,” and yes, you heard me correctly.
If you have been in a Baptist Church for any length of time, you have probably heard the phrase, “once saved, always saved.” On its face, I completely agree with the sentiment. If an individual is truly saved, then he or she is always saved.
However, there have been many Baptist Church Members through the years that aren’t and never have been truly saved. I would contend that is why at Emory Baptist Church we have a resident church membership of over 600 and a Sunday morning average attendance of 200. Where are the other 400? Again, my contention is that many of them have never been truly saved.
When we as Baptist Brethren trumpet, “once saved, always saved,” our brothers and sisters from other churches accuse us, and rightly so, of taking advantage of cheap grace. The abuse of “once saved, always saved” and cheap grace can be verbalized like this, “I can curse and swear, rip and tear; but I’m just as sure of heaven as if I were there.”
If you here this morning and you have walked a church isle during an invitation or filled out a membership card or even been baptized but you have never grown in your relationship with Christ, there is a very good chance that you are not saved because you haven’t worked on your salvation.
In today’s text, Peter tells us to take two actions regarding our faith or salvation. First, we are to work hard in cultivating our faith. Second, we are to work hard to conform our faith.
- Work hard to cultivate your faith, 2 Peter 1:5-7.
5 But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, 6 to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, 7 to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love.
Verse 5 begins by looking back. What is “this very reason?” As a whole, you say Peter was talking about gift of salvation. Or, he might have been talking about the assets of salvation including the knowledge of God and the power of God and the promises of God and the nature of God and the protection of God.
At the very minimum, I believe he is referencing the very nature of God, in the Holy Spirit, that now lives in us. Because that is true, give all diligence or work hard to add to your faith or cultivate your faith or work on your faith.
What are we to add to our faith or with what are we to cultivate our faith? Peter gives us what is known as virtue list, and it includes seven characteristics that should be true of the follower of Christ.
First, we are to cultivate virtue with our faith. Your translation may say moral excellence. It is the idea of being moral compared to immoral in what you think and do. Telling the truth is moral. Lying is immoral. Being faithful to your spouse is moral. Cheating on your spouse is immoral. Being content with what you have is moral. Stealing is immoral.
Second, cultivate knowledge. This is your knowledge of God’s Word, and if you’re going to know it, you’ve got to read it and spend time in it other than Sunday mornings.
Third, cultivate self-control. This words paints the picture of holding yourself in. Are you self-controlled in your words to your spouse and your posts on FB and your emails to co-workers? Are you self-controlled in what you eat and what you drink? Are you self-controlled in what you watch and what you hear?
Fourth, cultivate perseverance or patience. This word literally means “staying under.” It is means not giving up even in times of duress.
Fifth, cultivate godliness. In your day, do think about God? Do you try to practice the characteristics of God? Love, grace, mercy?
Sixth, cultivate brotherly kindness. The first give virtues are primarily internal and focus on our relationship with God. The last two focus on our relationships with others. This sixth virtue is simply being kind to other believers. Is that true of you or are you always critical or even mean and judgmental?
Finally, cultivate love. This is unconditional, agape love that is only possible when God is working in us and through us.
Brothers and sisters, we are to work hard in adding or cultivate these virtues in our lives. If we don’t, there are consequences.
Look at verse 8. If you don’t add or cultivate these virtues in your life, your spiritual life will be barren or useless and unfruitful in your knowledge of Christ.
Furthermore, according to verse 9, if you don’t add or cultivate these virtues in your spiritual life, you are shortsighted and even blind to what supposedly happened in your life.
In other words, you’re acting like a lost person. That is what he means when he says you have forgotten that you were cleansed from old sins.
Therefore, work hard to cultivate or add to or work on your faith.
- Work hard to confirm your faith, 2 Peter 1:10-11.
10 Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; 11 for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
When you don’t cultivate your faith, many Christians then experience doubt as to whether or not they are saved. Therefore, cultivate your faith, and then you will be able to confirm your faith.
That is what Peter says in verse 10. Be even more diligent to make your call and election sure. With your obedience or adding to your faith or cultivate your faith, confirm your salvation.
And as stated previously, if you don’t confirm your faith, you will likely stumble. Peter doesn’t mean lose your salvation, but he does mean fall into sin or to borrow a term from yesteryear, backslide.
However, if you are obedient and add to your faith and cultivate your faith, you will be welcomed into an everlasting kingdom called heaven by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Illustrations from the Bible
In case you’re wondering if this whole idea of adding to your faith or working on your salvation is unique to Peter, it’s not.
“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. 2 Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. 3 You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. 4 Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. 5 “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. 7 If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.
12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; 13 for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.
James 2:17, 24, 26
17 Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. 24 You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only. 26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.
1 John 3:10, 18
10 In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest: Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is he who does not love his brother. 18 My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but indeed and in truth.
Illustration from Life
At previous churches, I have led multiple individuals on mission trips around the world. A person’s place on the team was guaranteed when they told me they wanted to go and gave me a deposit.
Then they were required to write financial support letters for the remaining balance, often times in excess of $2,000. However, they were also told that if they were not able to raise the remaining funds, it would be covered through our church’s budgeted money or world mission’s fund.
In the same way, your place in heaven was guaranteed as soon as you surrendered your life to Jesus Christ. However, you have to work out your salvation your entire life. But even if you aren’t perfect, and you never will be, your efforts have confirmed your election.
My first invitation is for you who are lost to answer the calling of God on your life to be saved. My second invitation is for you who are saved to work hard in cultivating and confirming your salvation.
Because if you don’t cultivate and confirm your salvation, are you really saved?
6 He also spoke this parable: “A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came seeking fruit on it and found none. 7 Then he said to the keeper of his vineyard, ‘Look, for three years I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree and find none. Cut it down; why does it use up the ground?’ 8 But he answered and said to him, ‘Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and fertilize it. 9 And if it bears fruit, well. But if not, after that you can cut it down.’”