The Final Chapter Has Not Been Written

8 But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. 2 Peter 3:8

God is infinitely patient. Whereas we live in a microwave, do-it-now, order-now-get-it-delivered-by-10-tomorrow culture, God is patient. God is not bound by time. He knows how long something should take to get done or if it should be done at all. We wish the process of sanctification moved along quicker than it does. Millions of Christians have gone before us and wanted the same things. The injustices we see and hear about, the atrocities humans mete out against each other, there will be a time and place where all of that gets sorted out. No one will ever get away guiltless. Even if they’re caught, they may get a pass by the courts in this life. The final chapter has not been written.

There will be a day of reckoning and they will have to give an account of everything. There will be no loopholes or unfair judges and juries. No, God will administer perfect justice. When bad things happen to good people, keep this thought in mind: the final chapter has not been written.

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Soon

3 Above all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. 4 They will say, “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.” 5 But they deliberately forget that long ago by God’s word the heavens came into being and the earth was formed out of water and by water. 6 By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. 7 By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly. 2 Peter 3:3-7

Those same scoffers exist today. Of course it doesn’t help when the whacked out doomsdayers predict yet another date of His return. They’ll sell all they have and wait for the day. Then when the day doesn’t come, the non-Believers will just shake their heads and lump all Christians together.

The Lord Jesus will return. When He returns we will all know it. There won’t be any doubt about who He is and why He came. That’s the incredible hope we have, Brothers and Sisters. The world cannot boast about their afterlife; they can only hope that what they believed – whatever that was – is true. His return in imminent.

Wait for His return as a father waits for his prodigal son or daughter. Expect Him to come any day now.

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Wholesome Thinking

Dear friends, this is now my second letter to you. I have written both of them as reminders to stimulate you to wholesome thinking. 2 I want you to recall the words spoken in the past by the holy prophets and the command given by our Lord and Savior through your apostles. 2 Peter 3:1-2

To put it bluntly, we are inundated with non-wholesome thinking. Everything we see and hear on television is crude, rude, and often vile. There’s a lot of hatred and angst out there. You can especially see it in anonymous internet forums and social media outlets. It’s very easy to stand out among the crowds if you’re willing to take some moral stands.

What is this wholesome thinking Peter was talking about? First of all it’s avoiding the noise and trash when you can. You don’t need it. It’ll come your way without you going to it. Secondly, it’s immersing yourself into Scripture and worship music. Getting your mind focused on the things of God goes a long way in feeding your soul.

I encourage you to nourish your soul as much as you can today and tomorrow. Take a hard look at what you subject your mind and spirit to. Is it honoring to God? Does it lift Him up? Does it draw you closer to Him?

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Slaves to Depravity

17 These people are springs without water and mists driven by a storm. Blackest darkness is reserved for them. 18 For they mouth empty, boastful words and, by appealing to the lustful desires of the flesh, they entice people who are just escaping from those who live in error. 19 They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity—for “people are slaves to whatever has mastered them.” 20 If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and are overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning. 21 It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them. 22 Of them the proverbs are true: “A dog returns to its vomit,” and, “A sow that is washed returns to her wallowing in the mud.”

Peter concluded this chapter with a final renunciation of the false teachers and wicked. The key part of this passage are these words: people are slaves to whatever has mastered them. It’s as insightful as it is chilling. The slavery Peter talked about here refers to depravity. The bad keep getting worse if they don’t change course. How would they change course without someone to guide them?

Perhaps you know someone who is a slave to depravity. It comes in many forms and has many faces to it. This person needs your prayer. He/she is on your mind for a reason. Pray for them as if their life depended on it. YOu may be the only person praying for them and blessing them. Just consider them being caught in a web and not being able to get out. Try as they might, they need divine intervention. Pray that God will meet them.

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Stay Close

13 They will be paid back with harm for the harm they have done. Their idea of pleasure is to carouse in broad daylight. They are blots and blemishes, reveling in their pleasures while they feast with you. 14 With eyes full of adultery, they never stop sinning; they seduce the unstable; they are experts in greed—an accursed brood! 15 They have left the straight way and wandered off to follow the way of Balaam son of Bezer, who loved the wages of wickedness. 16 But he was rebuked for his wrongdoing by a donkey—an animal without speech—who spoke with a human voice and restrained the prophet’s madness. 2 Peter 2:13-15

Though we need not concern ourselves with the punishment and fate of false teachers and evil people, we take comfort in knowing that God will mete out perfect justice in His time and in His way. It doesn’t minimize the hurt they caused one bit.

Peter here talks about the Balaam loved the wages of wickedness, an interesting phrase in English to be sure. Profiting from evil is not lasting despite the glamorous picture the media and Hollywood paints for us. In the end, though, there will be an accounting.

The message today, while not directly related to the verses, is this: stay close to Jesus. Love Him. Praise Him, Learn from Him, and acknowledge your need for Him. Then, when false teachers come along, you’ll be better prepared to discern a false spirit.

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That’s What Faith Is

4 For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but sent them to hell, putting them in chains of darkness to be held for judgment; 5 if he did not spare the ancient world when he brought the flood on its ungodly people, but protected Noah, a preacher of righteousness, and seven others; 6 if he condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah by burning them to ashes, and made them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly; 7 and if he rescued Lot, a righteous man, who was distressed by the depraved conduct of the lawless 8 (for that righteous man, living among them day after day, was tormented in his righteous soul by the lawless deeds he saw and heard)— 9 if this is so, then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials and to hold the unrighteous for punishment on the day of judgment. 10 This is especially true of those who follow the corrupt desire of the flesh and despise authority. 2 Peter 2:4-10

In this paragraph, Peter made a contrast between what God will do with the wicked and evil, versus what He has in store for the righteous. Having faith in a God we cannot see to do the things we’d rather not think about because of who might ultimately be involved is not easy.

We are still left with troubling questions about evil in the world. Why does it exist? How could He continue to allow heinous acts to be committed? Why do the righteous suffer? Why do the innocent suffer? When will He say, “Enough?!?”

Those are very reasonable questions that really don’t have clarifying and satisfactory answers. Of course the answer that nobody likes is, “I don’t know why these things happen.”

Faith.

  • We have faith that God does in fact know what He’s doing despite what we see, hear, and experience.
  • We also have faith that the atrocities we see and – more importantly – those we don’t see will be punished.
  • Lastly, we have faith that, if we are put in dangerous and violent situations, we will have the mind of Christ.
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By the Grace of God

2 Many will follow their depraved conduct and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. 3 In their greed these teachers will exploit you with fabricated stories. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping. 2 Peter 2:2-3

Often false teachers are not seeking to live Godly lives. They merely use the church as a means of financial gain. They’ll say the right words week after week, but their lives are in ruins. Because their own lives are in shambles, their lifestyle naturally filters to their children, and then it ripples through the congregation. I’ve seen it happen. Today twenty years later, the two I am familiar with have issues with the Church, their families, and authority in general. Most of that trouble points to what happened as they grew up in a godless church with major morality issues. Of course they are adults today and can make their own decisions, but not having a great spiritual upbringing can cause great havoc upon impressionable minds.

We all know incidents similar to what I’m talking about. How in the world can we possibly make a difference when the world looks in and shakes their head at us, not because they disagree with our beliefs, but because they see our actions are no different than what they’re doing? Church leaders will be held to account when the time is right.

Fortunately, the vast majority of evangelical pastors are doing their best to shepherd their flocks according to Scripture. Unfortunately, the remaining 5% are more vocal and give the Church a bad name.

This is obviously a great time to lift up your pastor and his family in prayer. Their burdens are great, and they can only bear them by the grace of God.

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On Your Guard

But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves. 2 Peter 2:1

Two thousand years has passed since this was written, but it could have been written yesterday. As long as greed and power exist, so will false teachings. But these teachings ultimately come from the father of lies himself because he wants to confuse and interrupt the body of Christ from carrying out its mission. False teachers prey upon the greed, power, and pride of those in the pews. Does someone set out to be a false teacher? Normally, no. But when people begin to hang on their every word, they need to introduce newer doctrines that will continue to entice and draw people. The doctrinal errors are small at first and may even be incidental. But once these teachers gather the following, they themselves get puffed up in pride and build upon their original teachings.

These false teachers exist because they have a willing and eager audience who, as the Bible says, have itching ears. In other words, they want to believe something more and have an edge over the average Christian. The false teachers are more than willing to provide that edge.

Be on your guard against those who come into the church and introduce pseudo-intellectual doctrines that sounds plausible until you examine them thoroughly. As the day of His return approaches, these false teachers will increase.

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Prophets and Preachers, Oh My!

19 We also have the prophetic message as something completely reliable, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. 20 Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation of things. 21 For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. 2 Peter 1:19-21

The prophets of old were an odd bunch. They ate strange things, lived peculiar lives, and said troubling things. They often spoke with messages from God Himself. They often lived dangerously because they would reveal their prophecies to rulers who could execute them within the minute if they spoke out of line. If you’re a doom and gloom prophet, you have to know that what you have to tell the king just might land you in jail at a minimum.

And yet they spoke out against corruption and societal transgressions loudly and boldly. They themselves probably didn’t have great social lives. They certainly marched to a different drummer.

But their communion with God must have been spectacular. Think about it. God tells them to go tell the king that his kingdom was about to be destroyed. Of course I don’t know for certain, but it seems to me that there would have been quite a bit of dialog at that point.

“Tell the king? You want me to tell the king that? Are you sure? The last person who told him that was buried right outside the city gates!” They had to get it right.

So a prophet had to be absolutely certain he heard from God. The penalty for not getting it right was death.

Similarly, when your pastor steps into the pulpit every Sunday morning he should have heard clearly from God the message he wanted them to hear. Most preachers I know loved it when their members fact checked his messages. It kept them on their toes theologically, and it kept the parishioners in the Word of God. Fortunately we are under grace, and if a pastor errs slightly or misspeaks, others will be there to correct course.

Pray for your pastors today as they stand on the stage before you. Pray that the Word of God will come alive as they preach and teach.

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