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2 Peter

May 18, 2009

Background

I. Know God; His Character, His Truth II Peter 1

II. Recognize False Teachers; their Character, their Lies II Peter 2

III. Think Wholesome Truth and Live Godly Lives II Peter 3

Background:

This letter of Peter’s was not recognized as authentic until 185-245AD. Peter
was a common name and the name was associated with many Gnostic writings. So
great care was taken to make sure this letter was authentic and deserved its
rightful place in the canon of scripture. Other letters, all written in this
time period, were given similar scrutiny. They were Hebrews, James [actually
written earlier], Jude II, and III John, and Revelation.

I believe this letter was written to the same churches Peter helped establish
in NW Asia Minor [Turkey], the same churches he wrote to in I Peter [see II
Peter 3:1]. But as we shall see in II Peter 1:1, this letter is addressed to
all believers. Therefore, its message is for all believers and is to be read
by all believers.

I believe Peter wrote this letter from Rome after his condemnation and before
his martyrdom. Paul has been martyred and only he and John remain alive as the
original Apostles. It represents Peter’s last words of advice before parting
from this earth. After all, wouldn’t we have similar thoughts and words? See
II Peter 1:13-15.

I have provided only a general outline of this letter and will write comments
based on the verses within the given chapters. But first let me give you this
visual picture. Imagine a book shelf with three books supported by two bookends.
The book shelf is labeled Reminders [See II Peter 1:12-13; II Peter 3:17]. The
two bookends are Grace and Knowledge [see II Peter 1:2; II Peter 3:18]. The
three books sitting on the self are titled Knowing God, Recognizing False Teachers,
and Living Godly Lives.

What will be our parting words to those we know and love? Shouldn’t they be
similar to what Peter has written? Think about it.

Know God; His Character, His Truth                                                II Peter 1:1-21

With respect to the title I have chosen for this chapter, please consider
the following table.

Know God
His Character
His Truth
  • Verses 2 & 3
  • Verse 8
  • Giver of everything we need [vs. 3]
  • Goodness [vs. 3]
  • Majestic [vs. 16]
  • Other implied traits He has and gives to us are found in verses 5-7
    • Faithful
    • Knowledgeable
    • Self-controlled
    • Persevering
    • Godly
    • Kindness
    • Loving
  • He is Lord [vs.2]
  • He has Divine Power [vs. 3]
  • He called us [vs.3]
  • He promises us [vs. 4]
  • We will escape corruption [vs. 4]]
  • We are cleansed [vs. 9]
  • We are welcomed into His eternal kingdom [vs. 11]
  • He came Incarnate [vs.16]
  • He is the Son of God [vs.17]

II Peter 1: 1-2

Peter is a servant first and an Apostle second. The order is important. We
are to serve as Christ served, even the lowly job of washing feet. Peter said
he should be washing Jesus’ feet in John 13. He got the message,……
serve. If something comes along like apostleship, OK. But first be a servant.

We are to serve others. What we do does make a difference. What you are does
not. Things do not fall into place because we happen to be a father or mother.
Things fall into place because of what we do as a father or mother.

Our faith is a result of Christ’s righteousness. If Christ were unrighteous
there would be no reason to place our faith in Him. Our faith is precious because
He was/is righteous and was /is recognized as such from God the Father. His
righteousness means He qualifies to be our perfect sacrifice, our propitiation,
able to pay our penalty for sin, reconciling us with God, making us righteous
as He is righteous.

Knowledge of God results in abundant grace and peace. There is no reason not
to forgive as He forgave. There is no reason to worry. He has promised to judge
our enemies, to love and care for us, to provide for our needs, and to bring
us home for eternity.

II Peter 1:3-4

These verses focus on His divine power which has given us everything for life
and godliness. This power forgives sins and cleanses us from sin. It is His
saving power, His resurrection power, and His healing power. His power enables
us to know Him, now and for eternity. His goodness enabled Him to be faithful
unto death that we might have life. His glory was manifested in His resurrection
and return to heaven, to the right hand of the Father to intercede on our behalf.
To those who believe, He has promised eternal life. He sanctifies us, makes
us holy and godly, and makes us to be like Him. We will be like His divine nature
and fellowship with Him in heaven, our real home.

These verses represent His promise to us.

He is good.

He calls us.

His power has met all our needs to be godly.

He imparts His knowledge to us.

We become like Him.

We will escape this world for heaven.

He is good indeed!

Listen for His call.

Listen to His call.

Obey His call.

II Peter 1:5-11

For this reason……. In that we have received faith [vs. 2] and have
been given all we need [vs. 3], add to your faith:

  • Goodness*       \
  • Knowledge        |—discrete in nature
  • Self-control*   /
  • Perseverance            \
  • Godliness                      \
  • Brotherly kindness* /—-continuous in nature
  • Love*                            /

The more we practice the first three attributes the more they become to look
like the last four attributes.

* These are fruits of the Spirit listed in Gal. 5:22. These attributes are
produced, a natural outcome in the pursuit of faith and knowledge [see also
Col. 3:12].

One starts with faith and progresses toward love. The previous attributes
are needed for growth. Brotherly kindness, similar to goodness, is continuous,
always ongoing whereas goodness can be discreet acts.

This is “a type” of sanctification process. We need to ask ourselves
“where are we along this path”?

As we practice and focus on these attributes, we become more like God. As
we become more like God, we become more knowledgeable about God and vice versa.

Such an aptitude provides us assurance of His promises and protects us from
Satan. Going down this path assures us of His great reward.

This passage teaches much with respect to the doctrine of eternal security.
In one sense it is a warning… “Take this path and make sure of your
election, your reward, and your security”. Practice faithfulness and persevere
in all things so one does not have to wonder about your salvation.

This passage does not teach that you can lose your salvation but it does imply
it. It certainly says you can lose your assurance of salvation. Do we want to
live our lives assured or in question? Our freedom in Christ is a result of
our assurance in Christ. No assurance; then nothing is certain and we question
everything we believe. Soon we don’t know what we believe and start floundering,
looking for

what others say instead of looking for His knowledge/truth. We lose our freedom
looking for answers.

Be free! …………………. Place your trust in Him.

Be free! ………………….. Seek Him.

Be free! ………………….. Persevere.

Be free! …………………..Love Him and love your neighbor.

He is more than a Savior. He is Lord! Persevere and be assured through Hope;
hope of eternal life, hope of a welcome into heaven, and hope of being a part
of His Kingdom.

II Peter 1:12-15

It is always good to be reminded of the truths we have learned. It helps shore
up our foundation to withstand trials and temptations as one gets older.

It is also good for us to write down our memories; what happened, what’s important,
how God sustained us, how He cared for us and loved us etc. It does not replace
scripture, but it becomes a living testimony once we die.

What will others remember about us? What impressions did we make? What impressions
did we leave? Did our words, our work, our play, and our life witness of Christ’s
love? Can others live assured because of our testimony?

Peter seems to place great importance on this purpose and recommends we give
it great effort.

II Peter 1:16-21

Here Peter again validates his witness and the witness of the Apostles. He
claims to have seen Christ’s power first hand; His miracles, His resurrection.
He, Peter, confirms this in recollecting his “transfiguration” experience.
The words quoted “This is my Son whom I love and am well pleased”
are God’s Words, given at Christ’s baptism and probably heard only by John the
Baptist and given at Christ’s transfiguration and heard by Peter, James and
John.

Peter’s words and that of the apostles were foretold prior by the prophets,
further validating the apostles’ witness. Their words/stories were not made
up. They were foretold and they were witnessed first hand. When we begin to
understand the Truth, it’s like the sun rising and bringing light to darkness,
sight to the blind, healing to the sick, and knowledge to ignorance. Truth changes
unbelief to belief, no faith to faith, and slavery to freedom. We become born
again unto new life, life eternal. Our life will be changed once we understand
who Christ is, what He did., and then place our faith in Him. We will praise
Him and worship Him for who He is, the Son of the Living God.

Peter also claims the Holy Spirit was the originator/witness of all the prophet’s
words. So you not only have the apostles’ witness but you have the prophet’s
witness, Christ’s witness, the Holy Spirit’s witness, and God’s witness that
Jesus Christ is the Son of God, our Savior, glorified by God, with God, and
whose majesty is now in heaven. Praise God!

Recognize False Teachers; their Character, their Lies              II Peter
2:1-22

In noting the title used for this second chapter of Peter’s letter, consider
the following table.

Recognize False Teachers
Their Character
Their Lies
  • From the past [vs.1]
  • In the present/future[vs. 1]
  • Secretive [vs. 1]
  • Greedy [vs. 3]
  • Exploitive [vs.3]
  • Ungodly [vs. 6]
  • Despise authority [vs. 10]
  • Follow sinful nature [vs. 10]
  • Bold & arrogant [vs. 10]
  • Slanderous [vs.10]
  • Blasphemous [vs. 12]
  • Beastly [vs. 12]
  • Carouse in daylight [vs. 13]
  • Adulterous [vs. 14]
  • Seductive [vs. 14]
  • Love wickedness ]vs. 15]
  • Boastful [vs. 18]
  • Enticing [vs. 18]
  • Destructive heresies [vs. 1]
  • Denying the Lord [vs. 1]
  • Make-up stories [vs. 3]
  • Empty words [vs. 12]
  • Flattery [vs. 13]
  • Hypocrisy [vs. 13]
  • Promise of freedom [vs. 19]
  • Claim to know God [vs. 20]

II Peter2:1-3

There were false prophets during the times of the Old Testament prophets and
they exist in Peter’s time. They exist in our day and age too.

False teachers/prophets have a great following because they will say and do
the right things. They sound good. Examples in this century would be Mary Baker
Eddy, Joseph Smith, David Koresh, and Jim Jones. Be discerning of televangelists
such as Jim and Tammy Baker. Note what these people do/did and not what they
say. The tests are: Are they boastful or humble? Are they twisting scripture?
Are they profiteering?

II Peter 2:4-12

Be patient. They will be judged. God too is patient, but He does judge. He
gives examples of fallen angels, the flood, and Sodom and Gomorrah.

Peter lists the character flaws of false prophets so we will be able to recognize
them. God will rescue us if we remain steadfast, like Noah and Lot. They are
the examples of the Lord rapturing the Church prior to His judgment at the end
of the age. These examples indicate the rapture is probably mid-trib rather
than pre-trib. In the last days the Church’s influence will be waning and we
believers will know who the real anti-Christ is. So be patient, watch, and be
ready.

God seems to pay particular attention to false teachers who follow their sinful
nature and despise authority. These people seem to have no time for their conscience,
civil laws, moral laws, and/or social laws. They want to be free to do their
own thing whenever and wherever they desire. They fear nothing, including their
own consequences [vs. 10]. They do not recognize God. They are above God [vs.
12]. Blasphemy comes natural. Modern day examples would be Bishops Spong and
Robinson of the Episcopal Church, denying Christ and supporting gay lifestyles
respectively. Be careful. Most every denomination has some false teachers. They
are wolves in sheep’s clothing.

II Peter 2:13-16

These false prophets have no shame. What they do they do in front of everybody
[in broad daylight]. They seek selfish pleasure, pursuing it with gusto. Anyone
who challenges them will be treated like a donkey; with contempt, called names
such as narrow-minded, bigot, exclusive etc.

II Peter 2:17-22

These false teachers are incapable of ministry; that is a real ministry serving
others. They misdirect people who are looking for the truth. They say all the
right words but they do not mean them. Attention must always be focused on them.
All humility is gone. They are a slave to sin. It’s doubtful they have been
truly saved. If they were and have returned to their old ways, they are facing
a worse judgment than if they had never heard the gospel.

This is another clear passage indicating it is possible to lose your salvation.
People who hold on to eternal security interpret this passage as parenthetical;
what if or if such were true. Or they never really believed but were aware of
and close to the truth [Judas Iscariot]. In other words the unbeliever returns
to his old ways and does not commit to following Jesus.

Regardless, this chapter gives much advice useful in discerning false teachers.
They promise the ultimate in personal freedom which is no freedom at all. It
becomes tyranny and chaos with no visible witness for the Lord Jesus Christ.

Think Wholesome Truth and Live Godly Lives                                II Peter 3:1-18

In some ways I’ve chosen a less than obvious title for this last chapter.
Peter uses more ink to give us the reasons why we need to think straight and
live godly lives than writing about his desire for believers. He assures us
of God’s pending judgment while exhorting us to continue living for Christ.
In case you are wondering, the title for chapter 3 is taken from II Peter 3:1,14.

II Peter 3:1-2

Once again Peter states the reason for writing both letters; to remind them
to think wholesome thoughts. He wants to stimulate their minds to remember God’s
words, His promises given through the prophets and the commandments given by
Christ. The OT prophets promised/foretold of Messiah’s coming. Jesus promised/foretold
of His coming again at the end of the age. Jesus commands us to watch, be ready,
and beware of false messiahs. There were many other promises and commandments
given but the next verses seem to indicate that these concerning Christ’s second
coming were or would be the most troublesome for their faith.

II Peter 3:3-7

In these last days, meaning since Jesus death and resurrection, scoffers/unbelievers
will question the promise of His coming. They would rather follow their [evil]
heart than use their mind and consider God’s power to create. By deliberately
forgetting His creative power they turn to evolution. It’s not only His creative
power but it’s His destructive power [judgment] that they forget.

When making decisions and/or statements on what is/is not to come, make sure
they conform to God’s Word because God’s Word is Truth.

Peter is not only warning us about false teachers [chapter 2] but he is concerned
with false believers [chapter 3].

II Peter 3:8-10

Peter goes on to explain that God’s timetable/timepiece is different than
ours. There is a difference from being slow to being patient. God is actually
patient; a day being 1000 years [analogy]. God has a purpose for being patient
and that is to enable more to be saved, more to be invited to attend His wedding
banquet.

The destruction/judgment that Peter is referencing is at the end of the millennial
age. Satan is loosed and makes an all-out attack on Christ and His followers.
The end result is the complete destruction of the heaven and the earth, making
ready for a new heaven and earth. The “day of the Lord” begins like
a thief in the night and lasts 1000 years [millennial reign] before the heavens
and the earth is destroyed.

II Peter 3:11-13

We are to respond with holy and righteous living, looking ahead to that very
day. The new heaven and the new earth will be a home for righteousness. Anticipate,
aid, and speed its arrival. Remember this new heaven and new earth is a promise
of Jesus Himself.

II Peter 3:14-16

Peter repeats his point. Looking forward to this day, the final battle between
Satan and the victorious Christ, we are to make sure we are spotless, blameless,
and at peace with Him. God does not appreciate sloppy living. God wants spotless
and blameless people to carry His banner, attracting attention to His gift of
salvation.

So, what’s our vision? How far out are we looking? The lifestyle we choose
affects the distance of our vision. These are dependant variables. One feeds
off the other; positive or negative. Paul is referenced as a supporter of these
concepts.

II Peter 3:17-18

Peter says “Be on guard” and do not be influenced by lawless men
[false teachers]. Don’t be influenced by them BUT GROW IN GRACE AND KNOWLEDGE.

It’s very important to strike the right balance [stability] in life. Visualize
the future and don’t live in the past. Grow in the grace and knowledge of the
Lord Jesus Christ. Recognize and avoid false teachers. Live being assured of
your salvation and never forget to praise God.

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