Calvary Chapel of Hope

Pastor Claude T. Stauffer

803 County Line Road, North Amityville, New York 11701

Phone: 631-789-4837  

E-mail: shepherdofhope@gmail.com

Website: http://www.calvarychapelofhope.org

What Manner of Persons Ought We To Be?

 

The world in which we live is not always going to be here. In fact, one day it will all burn. That’s what the Bible says. Therefore there is a decision we need to make between the temporal and the eternal, between the burnable and the unburnable. Will we settle for living superficially for that which will one day and indeed on any day, can burn or be destroyed? Or will we live life with an eye to the eternal? Will we major on marginal minors or major on the majesty mission the Lord calls us to?  

There are many who see the End Days in the near future given the state of affairs in the world today. God has warned us about this day so that we might prepare and be ready for it. For some their last day could come long before The Day of the Lord. The Lord numbers our days (Psalm 39:4-5; 90). We don’t know how many days we have but God does. Not knowing how long we have to live should motivate us to live right each day we do indeed live.

A Christian leader once said that the average 70-year-old man has spent a total of –

24 years sleeping,

14 years working at a job

8 years engaged in various amusements

6 years sitting at the dinner table

5 years in transportation

4 years in conversation

3 years in education

2 years in studying and reading.

His other four years were spent in miscellaneous pursuits -- except for the hour he spent every Sunday at church, as well as about five minutes per weekday engaged in prayer. This amounts to a tremendous total of five months that the average 70-year-old man gives to God over his life span. Five months!

It is with this kind of sobering reflection in mind that a theologian once commented:

"Out of all the eternal ages of our existence as God's children, these tiny years here on earth have a destiny that can never be repeated. The Bible tells us that in the stench of a sick and rotting world we are perfume bottles for the fragrance of Christ (2 Corinthians 2:15). In the gathering darkness we shine as stars (Philippians 2:15). If only we could grasp the awesome implications of these few years!" Romans 13:8, 11-14 - 8 Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law. . . . 11 And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. 12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. 13 Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy. 14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.

All the apostles and writers of the New Testament at some point urge their readership to have a spirit of urgency, readiness, and seriousness about the eternal state of affairs and the soon return of Jesus. Second Peter is an instruction booklet on how to live right with a right perspective.

In the second epistle of Peter the apostle is writing from a prison cell and at the end of his days (2 Peter 1:13-15). 2 Peter is Peter’s last letter probably written between 64 and 68 A.D., a mere thirty or so years after the crucifixion of Jesus.  Final words are always important words. When you have a death sentence hanging over you and not much time left, you choose your words carefully to make the most of them. What did God inspire Peter to write with his last words? What did he want to convey? What was of utmost importance to him to share? And how should what God inspired Peter to write affect us in our days? These are all questions we will answer in our study of Second Peter.

Peter the Person Who Was Inspired by God to Write this Epistle

Before we dig into the second epistle of Peter, let’s review a bit about this strong but also humanly flawed apostle of God. It was Peter’s brother Andrew who brought Peter to the Lord (John 1:40-42). Before Peter came to Christ he went by the name of Simon which some teachers interpret as meaning literally, “shifting sand.” Since names usually represent the nature of people in the Bible, apparently Simon-Peter was a person who vacillated or was uncertain in his life direction. Have you ever stood on shifting sand down at the shore of the beach? The water comes in and as it goes out the sand floor beneath you gives way sucking you in and making you unsteady, unstable in your stance. That was Simon-Peter, he was unstable, uncertain of himself, unconfident, directionless. But when he came to Jesus, Jesus gave him a new name as a kind of prophetic statement to Simon-Peter. Jesus gave Simon the name “Cephas” (Aramaic) or “Peter” (Greek) which means, “a stone.”   J. Vernon McGee says this about Peter and his new name:

“This man, Simon, was as weak as water. Our Lord told him that he would be a stone man. I think everybody laughed there that day because nobody believed he could become the rock man, the man who would stand up on the Day of Pentecost and give the first sermon, which would be used to sweep three thousand persons into the church (see Acts 2:40–41).”  [3] The term “conduct” comes from the Greek term ANASTROPHE (Strong’s #390 - ἀναστρέφωanastrĕphō, an-as-tref´-o) which means, “to overturn; also to return; to busy oneself, i.e. remain, live; abide, and behave self.”[5]

And the word “godliness” comes from the Greek term EUSEBEIA (Strong’s #2150 - εὐσέβειαĕusĕbĕia, yoo-seb´-i-ah) meaning, “piety, holiness, and godliness.” 2 Peter 1:3-4 - 3 as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, 4 by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

Peter is inspired to write about God’s power and promises that are available to us to work in us to work His divine nature or holy nature in us (compare Romans 8:29). The point is to have God change us from the inside out and then we will be living in a way that is pleasing to God.

The Plan of This Epistle

When we look at this epistle as a whole we can divide it up into three parts that help us answer the overall question of What Manner of Persons Ought You to Be? These three sections are:

I.) We Ought to be Divinely Natured Persons – 2 Peter 1

II.) We Ought to Be Discerning Persons – 2 Peter 2

III.) We Ought to Be Prophetically Diligent Persons – 2 Peter 3

Let’s start our study.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What Manner of Persons Ought You To Be? –

 

Application / Discussion Questions

 

  1. If you were to examine your life right now what do you spend the majority of your time on temporal or eternal things?

  1. Do you feel your present life priorities are upside down, right side up, or just right? Why?

  1. What does the Bible say about your life priorities? (e.g. Romans 13:8, 11-14; Matthew 6; Philippians 3)

  1. What do you relate to the most with Peter? How are you like him? How are you different from him?

  1. Do you feel that the church is threatened from within sometimes? How so?

  1. What do you find most challenging about 2 Peter 3:11?

  1. What do you think about the phrase, “Our behavior and what we do is a product of who we are”?

  1. When you are seventy years old will hindsight be kind or cruel to you? (If you are seventy or more years old is hindsight kind or cruel to you?)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What Manner of Persons Ought You To Be? -

We Ought To Be Divinely Natured Persons – 2 Peter 1

 

The Bible says that the word of God is powerful (Hebrews 4:12). It is in the Bible where we find the promises of God. When we take the promises of God found in the powerful word of God and by His grace and the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8) apply them to our lives, the result is a powerful and more fruitful life in Christ, a life that takes on a divine nature. That is what Peter is inspired to communicate in this first section. What characterizes a divinely natured person? Let’s see how this process works.

 

A Divinely Natured Person is Powered by God

2 Peter 1:1-4 - Simon Peter, a bondservant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have obtained like precious faith with us by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ:2 Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, 3 as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, 4 by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

Simon Peter, a bondservant and apostle of Jesus Christ (1:1a) - Peter presented himself as first a “bondservant” or willing servant of Jesus and second as being one who had the authority of an apostle of Jesus. Service precedes authority.

 

To those who have obtained like precious faith with us (1:1b) – Peter was imprisoned with a death sentence hanging over him and those he wrote to had experienced a great deal of persecution for their faith (1 Peter 4). When you go through trials with Jesus by your side, you see your faith as “precious.”

 

by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ: (1:1c) – Peter like Paul, taught the truth that our righteousness is not based on what we do, but on what God has done for us in His only Son Jesus Christ (compare 2 Corinthians 5:21). We have a righteous standing before God through faith in Jesus; we experience a righteous state as the Holy Spirit works in us to sanctify us.

God works a divine nature in us as we grow in our knowledge of the Lord.

Grace and peace (1:2a) – Grace is a Greek greeting and peace is the Hebrew or Jewish greeting so Peter like Paul is using a greeting that will unite the two groups. Grace always precedes peace because you cannot experience the peace of God before you have received the gracious gospel of God (Romans 5).

be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, (1:2b) – This is our first clue and a key to understanding how God works in us. Gods’ grace and peace will be multiplied in us (abound) as we grow in the knowledge of God and of Jesus Christ our Lord. This is one reason why it is so important to be a student of the word. The deeper you go in God’s word the more you will be blessed. The deeper you go in God’s word the more you will understand and gain knowledge of God’s promises and knowing God’s promises will empower you to live as you become aware of what is at your disposal from God’s arsenal.

The word “knowledge” means, “a full discernment; full understanding; full thorough knowledge” (Strong’s 1922 - eπίγνωσις ĕpignōsis, ep-ig´-no-sis), and is used seven times in 2 Peter, five of the seven occurrences are in chapter one.

There is a related word to “knowledge” that Peter uses in this epistle and that word is “know” (NKJV) and it occurs twice in this epistle (1:12; 3:17). In 2 Peter 1:12 this word is a translation from the Greek term EIDO, which refers to perception based on perceiving with the physical senses as well as, to perceive with the senses; to discern; to notice, to discover; to see by turning the eyes to, examining, inspecting, paying attention to; to inspect and to examine (Strong’s #1492 - εἴδω ĕidō, i´-do). The grammatical form of the term in 2 Peter 2:12 conveys an action begun in the past that has ongoing and persistent action (Perfect/Active/Participle).

In 2 Peter 3:17 “know” (“since you know this beforehand”) is translated from the Greek term PROGINOSKO (Strong’s #4267 - προγινώσκω prŏginōskō, prog-in-oce´-ko) from which we derive another English term, “prognosis.” PROGINOSKO means, “to know beforehand, i.e. foresee; foreknow (ordain), know (before).”[8] Therefore when Peter uses the term PROGINOSKO he is referring to what his readers have already experienced and come to know in their walk with the Lord.

Another word that is similar to these is “understand” which means, “to exercise the mind, (observe); to comprehend, heed;  consider, perceive, think, understand” (Strong’s #3539 - νοέωnŏĕō no-eh´-o;[10]; 3:16[12] (2 Peter 1:3, 6, 7; 3:11).

 

 

How can we get this divine power; how can it be unleashed in our lives?

 

through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue (1:3b) – Again, as we grow in our knowledge and understanding of God it will have an impact on us. God calls us by glory and virtue.

“glory” – (Strong’s #1391DOXA) - dignity, glory (-ious), honour, praise, worship.

“virtue” – (Strong’s #703 – ARETE) excellence; manliness; valor; the willingness to take a stand in the face of opposition (1 Peter 2:9; 2 Peter 1:3, 5; Philippians 4:8). .

Peter is inspired to say here that the power of God can make you a REAL MAN!

The powerful promises of God are able to build a divine nature in us.

by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, (1:4a) – God’s power has provided promises that are precious and beyond our comprehension they are so great.

exceedingly great” – (Strong’s #3176 – MAGISTOS)magnificent; exceedingly great; the greatest! (2 Peter 1:4 is the only occurrence).

“precious” – (Strong’s 5093 – TIMIOS)superb; honored; esteemed; costly; dear; most precious. It’s interesting that the fisherman Peter traditionally thought to be a course type of man, would use a word like “precious” to describe the promises of God. (James 5:7; 1 Peter 1:19).

“promises” – (Strong’s #1862 – EPAGGELMA)  -  a commitment and assurance of conferring some good; promise. (2 Peter 1:4; 3:13).

The Promises of God

The promises of God are described in scripture as:

  1. Never failing - Joshua 23:5–15; 1 Kings 8:56
  2. Backed by God’s oath            - Hebrews 6:12–20
  3. Fulfilled on schedule - Acts 7:6, 17; Galatians 4:4
  4. Given to Israel            - Romans 9:4
  5. Confirmed by Christ - Romans 15:8
  6. Kept by faith - Romans 4:20, 21; Hebrews 11:13–40
  7. Centered in Christ - 2 Corinthians 1:20; 2 Timothy 1:1
  8. Exceedingly great - 2 Peter 1:4
  9. Not slow - 2 Peter 3:4–13 Holy Spirit - Luke 11:13; 24:49;  John 16-18, 26; 15:26; Acts 1:5, 8
  10. Salvation - Acts 2:39
  11. Kingdom - James 2:5
  12. Life eternal - Titus 1:2
  13. Crown of life - James 1:12
  14. New earth - 2 Peter 3:13

You may think this sounds too good to be true, but God has committed Himself to bring this to pass; He promises.  

The Twofold Sanctifying Process

1. The positive side: Becoming like Jesus

that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, (1:4b) – The “these” refers to God’s magnificent precious promises. The objective and goal is that “you may be partakers of the divine nature”.

“Partakers” – (Strong’s #2844 – KOINONOS) - a sharer, i.e. associate: companion, × fellowship, partaker, partner. Romans 8:29 - 29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.

  • 1 Peter 2:21 - 21 For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps:
  • 1 John 2:6 - 6 He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.

2. The negative side: Leaving our worldly ways behind us.

having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. (1:4c) – Here is a great truth – You can’t go in two direction sat once; when you move toward God and grow in His knowledge it will move you away from the ways of this world.

“escaped” – (Strong’s #668 – APOPHEUGO) – escape; flee away from (2 Peter 1:4; 2:18, 20).

“Corruption” – (Strong’s #5356 – PHTHORA)ruin; decay; corruption; perishable; being brought into an inferior or worse condition (1 Corinthians 15:42 – “perishable”; Galatians 6:8; 2 Peter 2:12 – “killed”; 2:19 – “corruption”).

“lust” – (Strong’s #1939 - EPITHUMIA)a longing for what is forbidden; (Mark 4:19 – “desires”; Romans 1:24; 6:12; Galatians 5:16; 5:24; Ephesians 2:3; 1 Thessalonians 4:5; 2 Timothy 2:22; 1 Peter 1:14; 2:11; 4:2, 3; 2 Peter 1:2:10, 18; 3:3; 1 John 2:16-17).

  What is this life of the divine nature like? That is what Peter describes in the next section.

The Fruitfulness and Security of the Divinely Natured Person

2 Peter 1:5-14 - 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. 8 For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins.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.12 For this reason I will not be negligent to remind you always of these things, though you know and are established in the present truth. 13 Yes, I think it is right, as long as I am in this tent, to stir you up by reminding you, 14 knowing that shortly I must put off my tent, just as our Lord Jesus Christ showed me.

Fruitfulness

Peter tells us how the divine nature can become a reality in our lives. In the power the Lord provides he instructs us to “add” certain things to our lives. The term “add” here is an interesting one and means, “to furnish; contribute; add; minister nourishment to; and supply” (Strong’s #2023 - ἐπιχορηγέωĕpichŏrēgĕō, ep-ee-khor-ayg-eh´-o). [16]

What is it we should add or supply to our lives that will make them fruitful? The life of the divine nature is fruitful and it is fruitful because the following attributes are fed to, supplied, and added to a person’s life:

  1. “Diligence” (1:5a) – (Strong’s #4710 – SPOUDE) – when you mean business; dispatch; eagerness; earnestness; speed (2 Corinthians 7:11-12; 8:16).
  2. “Faith” (1:5b) – (Strong’s #4102 – PISTIS) – trust; conviction; reliance; constancy; an assurance or guarantee (Acts 17:31; Hebrews 11:1, 6).
  3. “Virtue” (1:5c) – (Strong’s #703 – ARETE) – moral excellence; manliness (Philippians 4:8-9).
  4. “Knowledge” (1:5d) – (Strong’s #1108 – GNOSIS) – a desire and interest in knowing (Romans 15:14; 2 Corinthians 4:6; 10:4-5; Philippians 3:8; Colossians 2:2-3; 1 timothy 6:20; 2 Peter 3:18).
  5. “Self-control” (1:6a) – (Strong’s #1466 – EGKRATEIA) – strength under control; right use and application of God’s powers (Acts 24:25; Galatians 5:23).
  6. “Perseverance” (1:6b) – (Strong’s #5281 – HUPOMONE) – consistency; constancy; endurance; patience (Luke 8:15; 21:19; Romans 5:3-4; 15:4-5; 2 Corinthians 1:6).
  7. “Godliness” (1:6c) – (Strong’s #2150 – EUSEBEIA) – imitating God’s nature (2 Peter 1:3, 6, 7; 3:11; 1 Timothy 3:16; 4:7, 8; 6:3-6, 11; 2 Timothy 3:4-5).
  8. “Brotherly kindness” (1:7a) – (Strong’s 5360 – PHILADELPHIA) – love of the brethren; fraternal affection (Romans 12:10; 1 Thessalonians 4:9; Hebrews 13:1; 1 Peter 1:22).
  9. “Love” (1:7b) – (Strong’s #26 – AGAPE) – selfless love; God’s kind of love (Matthew 24:12; John 5:42; 13:35; 15:9-10, 13; Romans 5:5, 8; 8:35-39; 12:9; 13:10; 1 Corinthians 13; 2 Corinthians 5:14-16; Galatians 5:13, 22)

For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. (1:8) – If you have these things operating in your life, if you feed your life with these things, it will lead to spiritual fruitfulness in your relationship with Jesus.

For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins (1:9) – If you lack the nine aspects of the divine dynamic, you are spiritually blind and dull and out of touch with the great provisions of God offered to you.

The bottom line? We need to be adding to our walk with the Lord these various characteristics; we need to grow in our walk and advance in our walk with the Lord.

Security

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. (1:10-11) – Since we want to be fruitful and not barren, we ought to apply these things to our lives. To do this is to answer God’s call to come and to ask where God has elected you to serve. And to do this is a protection against stumbling in our walk with God. “Sure” (Geek babaios) means firm, sure, steadfastness.  If you seek this divine nature through God’s promises “you will never stumble”; you will protect yourself from falling short of what God desires you to be. As we grow in our walk with the Lord and get to know Him better and learn of Him, it leads to a certainty in our walk with Him that has a stabilizing impact on our lives.

 

Peter warned against neglecting the divine nature attributes mentioned above. He said that if those attributes are lacking in your life, then that person is “shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins” (1:9). If your life does not reflect an actual change once you have “accepted” Jesus as your Savior, then you are not taking advantage of the power God has put at your disposal. Furthermore, it may cause you to doubt your own calling and election with God. And lastly, with no fruit to bear witness to a new life in Christ, others may doubt your standing with God. There is a way to remove all doubt and experience the fullness of the power God offers to you.

The Bible Knowledge Commentary makes an interesting comment at this point:

The Greek word for “sure” (bebaian) was used in classical Greek to refer to a warranty deed somewhat like those people use today on houses and other pieces of property. One’s godly behavior is a warranty deed for himself that Jesus Christ has cleansed him from his past sins and therefore that he was in fact called and elected by God. Bebaian is rendered “secure” (Heb. 6:19), “guaranteed” (Rom. 4:16), “firm” (2 Corinthians 1:7), “courage” (Heb. 3:6), “confidence” (Heb. 3:14), and “in force” (Heb. 9:17).[18]

Prophetic fulfillment is a strong basis for believing that the Bible is the word of God. That something is predicted and that it comes true is evidence of otherworldliness. Now, I’m not talking about guessing or predicting something and then getting a high proportion of it accurately fulfilled. God’s standard, God’s fingerprint on His word of prophecy is 100% accuracy (cf. Deuteronomy 18:20-22). So when the Bible predicts something and it comes to pass 100% (not 65%, or 75%, or 85%, or even 95% of the time, but 100% true) then we see evidence that it is holy, unique, special, from the hand of God. Fulfilled prophecy is the fingerprint of God on His word and the evidence that we can trust it and rely upon it.

God’s word brings light. God’s written word is like an illuminating light that shines into the dark world of sin (1:19; Psalm 119:105; Isaiah 9:2; Ephesians 6:12). Jesus, the central figure to which the Bible points, is the epitome of such light and is described by Peter as “the morning star” literally, the “light bringer” (Strong’s #5459 – PHOPHOROS; cf. Revelation 22:16). If we are to find our way through the dense darkness of this fallen world we need the light of God’s word to shine forth and lead our way. The light of God’s word shows us when we are dangerously close to a moral cliff’s edge. The light of God’s word exposes the demonic rodents that seek to prey on us. The light of God’s word exposes falsehoods, fallacies, and fantasies and shows us reality and eternity. Satan is the father of lies (John 8:44). Wherever there are lies or deception you can be sure the devil is involved. God’s word exposes lies and uses eternal truth in the word to do it.

God’s word is not to be left to private interpretations. God’s word is God’s revelation to humanity and not a matter to be left up to private individual interpretation (1:20). God’s word is the final say on truth, living, purpose, and worth. Some people try to ignore or dismiss the clear teaching of God’s word by saying, “Well, that’s your interpretation.” But God’s word is a light that shines in the darkness and trying to ignore His truth with dismissive phrases will only plunge the person into deeper darkness. And that is very dangerous since the coming day of Jesus return is close approaching (1:19). God’s word can’t be ignored because it is inspired (1:21).

God’s word must be taken in context. We aren’t to take God’s word out of context in order to twist it’s meaning to our own preferences or desires. (This is what cults and false teachings and false teachers do.) We are to interpret God’s word in context. This means when we look at a passage we examine it first in its immediate context (e/g/ sentence, paragraph, chapter, book/letter as a whole), then its broader context (the Testament in which we find the passage and then comparing our interpretation in relation to the other Testament or Bible as a whole). Our study should be inductive as opposed to deductive. In other words, we don’t come to the Bible with preconceived notions or beliefs so as wo prove what we already have deduced. No, instead we come to the Bible first and form our beliefs based on the testimony of scripture.

We need to remember and live by God’s word in every area of life. I want to list a few truth principles or truths of life that we can apply to life. This is not an exhaustive list but simply some truths to live by. I encourage you to study God’s word thoroughly to add to this list.

  1. Revelation. God’s word is the primary instrument through which God provides His revelation knowledge and promises to meet our every need in life or “His divine power” which “has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness” (cf. 2 Peter 1:3-4). This includes the way of salvation and eternal life, sanctification or how to live in a way pleasing to God and experience His abundant life (John 10:10). Go[d’s word has countless uses for our lives (e.g. Psalm 119).
  2. Order. God is orderly and works by design (e.g. 1 Cor. 14:33 and 40). We see His design and order in His creation (Genesis 1), in His plan of redemption by faith (Gen. 15:6; Romans 4), through Abrahamic family lines (Gen. 12), through His Law (Exodus 20ff.; Leviticus; Romans 7; Galatians 3:10-13), through His calendar of Feasts (Leviticus 23). through His plans for the Tabernacle (Exodus 25-40) and Temple (1 Kings 5-6), and His order of salvation through faith in Jesus. God’s word revels He is by nature orderly and calls us to order as well.
  3. Love. God is love by nature and all love (if it is genuine love) is from God (1 John 4:7-12). We see God’s love in His creation and His care and compassion for His creation. We see this depicted throughout His word. God’s love is most clearly seen in Christ on the cross (Romans 5:8).
  4. Relationship. Because of God’s nature of love He has made a way for humanity to have a relationship with Him. God’s word tells us eternal life is knowing God and Jesus Christ in relationship (John 17:3-4). Religion is for the most part a human effort to gain eternal life. Ritual,  ceremony and tradition are for the most part human practices and are only right when they are in accord with God’s word and experienced in a way that enhances one’s relationship with God. It is the Person of the Holy Spirit who enables human beings to enter into a relationship with God through faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord (John 3; 16:8-11; Titus 3:4-7).
  5. Parameters. Whenever you venture outside the parameters of God’s word you venture into sin, or at least settle for less than God’s best and are likely headed for some painful lessons (cf. Galatians 6:7-9).
  6. Decision/Will. From the beginning God created humanity in His image with the capacity to exert will in decisions. Adam and Eve were placed in a garden with one prohibition and given a choice to make of their own free will (Genesis 1-3). Unfortunately they chose to disobey God.
  7. Sin. Humanity has a sin problem (Gen. 3). Sin separates humanity from a relationship with God (Isaiah 59:1-2). All humanity is lost in sin (Romans 3 and 5). There is nothing humanity can do on its own to be reconciled to God (e.g. Isaiah 64:6; Phil. 3:9).
  8. Satan. God and humanity have an adversary. Satan is a fallen created being; a fallen angel (e.g. Isiah 14; Ezekiel 28). Satan is constantly trying to thwart God’s plans and hurt God by hurting His people and creation (e.g. Job). He is on the prowl to spread lies and deception (John 8:44) and to do harm especially to God’s people (1 Peter 5:8-9). We are in a spiritual war for which God has given us spiritual armor (2 Cor. 10:3-4; Ephesians 6:10-18).
  9. Grace. Because of sin and Satan’s strategies humanity is hopelessly lost if left to their own devices. But by grace God has intervened on our behalf. By grace (as a free gift) God has sent His only Son Jesus (the Second Person of the Triune Godhead – God in the flesh – 2 Cor. 5:19; Hebrews 1 and 2) to serve as our Substitute and pay the penalty for our sin which is justly death (Isiah 53). God in His word promises to give us grace (or what we need) to help us in our time of need (Heb. 4:16). He promises to provide us grace to live by (1 Cor. 15:10). We are saved as a gift of His grace (Eph. 2:8-9; Titus 3:4-7). And we live by grace.
  10. Faith. God tells us in His word that the way we incorporate into life and live by His word and appropriate His word in our life is by faith. We enter into eternal life by faith in Jesus (Romans 5) and we live on in life by faith in Jesus (e.g. Romans 1:17). Living by faith and trusting in God and His word is how we please God (Hebrews 11:1 and 6). We walk by faith not merely human sight (2 Cor. 5:7).
  11. Jesus. Because of God’s plan of redemption by grace through faith in Jesus the central Person in His word is Jesus (Hebrews 10:7). God’s word is really all about Jesus. We see Him in the Old Testament “Angel of the Lord” as well as in types and shadows (Hebrews 8:3-6; 9:9; 10:1). And we see Jesus clearly portrayed as God in the flesh in the gospels (e.g. John 1:1-2 and 14) as well as in the inspired words from God throughout the New Testament (Romans 9:5; Col. 1; Hebrews 1 and 2). It is through Jesus that we experience newness of life; eternal life (e.g. Romans 6).
  12. Government. God institutes governments to maintain order in society (Romans 13). But because governments are run by humanity they are resultantly flawed regardless of type (e.g. monarchy, democracy, socialism, communism, etc.)  
  13. Freedom. God’s word shows us the way to be set free from sin and experience true freedom in life (e.g. John 8:31-36). Christ set us free (Galatians 5:1).
  14. Equality. God’s word teaches God loves all humanity and desires all to be saved and spend eternity with Him (John 3:16; 2 Peter 3:9). Therefore we should not be given to racism, bigotry, or prejudice. There is one race, the human race. The blood of every “race” runs red (Acts 17:26).
  15. Justice. God’s word teaches justice and fairness. “Keep yourself far from a false matter; do not kill the innocent and righteous. For I will not justify the wicked” (Exodus 23:7). Everyone should be offered an honest trial when accused. Accusations should not be received outright as true, but need to be proven true by God’s word (e.g. 2 Timothy 3:16-17). Both sides of an argument should be heard and evidence examined before judgment is decided (e.g. Proverbs 18:17).
  16. Mercy. We are to be merciful because we ourselves have received mercy from God (e.g. Matthew 5:7). In the Old Testament God states, “Let not mercy and truth forsake you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart” (Proverbs 3:3). Mercy is not getting what you deserve. We are to treat others mercifully.
  17. Forgiveness. God’s word teaches forgiveness. God’s word tells us to be kind and tenderhearted toward people having a willingness to forgive based on God’s forgiveness of us in Christ (e.g. Ephesians 4:3). Just as we do not deserve to be forgiven our sins but God made a way to forgive us in Christ, we too should look for ways to be forgiving. We are not to be vengeful but by faith trust God to recompense abusers, offenders, and breakers of His law (cf. Psalm 94:1; Romans 12:19).
  18. Morality. God’s word gives us the standard of morality and holiness acceptable to God. Therefore morality is not something determined by human trends of the day but by the eternal word of God. God desires His best for us. He created us. He knows what is best for us. If He prohibits something or calls something sin it is because it will harm us and prevent us from experiencing His best for us. His design for marriage is the only moral one (Gen. 2:21-25; Eph. 5). God’s design for marital relationships is heterosexual not homosexual, trans-sexual, or pan-sexual (Romans 1; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11).
  19. Resisting temptation and sin. God in His word promises to provide a way to resist temptations and avoid sin (1 Cor. 10:13). No one can excuse themselves of indulging in sin. God has promised to provide a way to live holy and avoid sin.
  20. The Holy Spirit. We need the Holy Spirit to guide us into the truth of the scriptures (1 Corinthians 2:9-14). God’s word is not a concoction of fallible human beings, it is literally breathed out by the Holy Spirit through human agents acting like secretaries so that the words are from God’s heart to ours (cf. 2 Timothy 3:16-17). The Holy Spirit, the Third Person of the Trinity, is the Author of the word of God. We need Him to illuminate and to help us understand His word. Apart from Him we can’t understand God’s word. Therefore, whenever we go to God’s word we should do so prayerfully seeking His assistance to understand and apply it to our lives.

The Divinely Natured Person Understands the Scriptural Basis for the Sanctifying Process

When a person is saved from their sin by God’s grace through faith alone in Christ alone (Ephesians 2:1-10), they are forgiven all of their sin (1 John 1:9). But there is still work to do. While we are saved from sin, the believer still has a sinful nature which needs subduing (Romans 7:18). This process of subduing the sinful nature is a purification of the heart from that which would battle against the will of God in one’s life. Another word for this purifying process is sanctification.

Sanctification is the process by which a believer is separated and cleansed from sin; from those attitudes and desires that fight against God’s will in their lives.  

There are a number of aspects to this sanctifying process. They can be summarized as follows.

First, it is God’s will and God calls every believer to holiness or sanctification as we see in the following verses:

  • 1 Thessalonians 4:3-7 – “For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality;4 that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor,5 not in passion of lust, like the Gentiles who do not know God;6 that no one should take advantage of and defraud his brother in this matter, because the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also forewarned you and testified.7 For God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness.”
  • 1 Peter 1:15-16 – “but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.”

Sanctification and holiness are not optional; they are God’s command to every believer.

Second, it is God who works sanctification in us. The scriptures state:

  • Philippians 2:13 – “for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.”

This sanctification is not something we accomplish with intestinal fortitude or self-discipline; that would be futile (see Romans 7). No, this is a work of God in us.

Third, God the Father works this sanctifying process in us, We see this in the opening words of Jude’s epistle where he is inspired to write:

  • Jude 1 – “Jude, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, 1 To those who are called, sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ:

Fourth, sanctification is based on the work of Jesus as we see in Paul’s letter to Titus where he writes:

  • Titus 2:14 – “who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify [i.e. sanctify] for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.” (See also Acts 20:32; 1 Corinthians 1:2; 30; 6:11; Ephesians 1:4; 5:25-27; Hebrews 2:11; 9:14; 10:10; 13:12).

The process of sanctification is rooted in and based on the work of Jesus Christ. That is foundational to this holy process.

Fifth, the Holy Spirit works sanctification in the believer. The scriptures states:

  • 2 Thessalonians 2:13 – “But we are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God from the beginning chose you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth,” (See also Galatians 5:19-24; 1 Peter 1:2).

Again we see reference to God’s word when “truth” is referred to (John 17:17). It is the Holy Spirit who works holiness into us.

Sixth, God’s work of sanctification will be a complete work and He will be faithful to perform it in us. The Lord will leave no stone unturned in your heart and life. He wants to make you special and perfectly suited for His calling on your life. Paul points this out as he gives the Thessalonians a benediction saying:

  • 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 – “Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.24 He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it.”

Seventh, God’s sanctifying work in us is a lifelong process. In Hebrews it states:

  • Hebrews 10:14 – “For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.”

The words “being sanctified” (Present tense of HAGIADZO – Strong’s #37) imply an ongoing process. Sanctification is God’s project in you. We are His workmanship (Ephesians 2:10) and he won’t stop until He’s finished. Absolute perfection will not occur until we get to heaven (Hebrews 12:23). But take heart the work will get done!  

Eighth, the main tool of this work is God’s word. Jesus said:

  • John 17:17 - “Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.”

God’s word is indispensable for God’s work in a believer. If you aren’t in the word of God, you greatly hinder if not stifle God’s work in you. Get into the word brother and sister in Christ!

Ninth, the sanctifying process is God’s work in us appropriated by faith. In Acts it speaks of God’s work in us in the following way:

  • Acts 15:8-9 -  “So God, who knows the heart, acknowledged them by giving them the Holy Spirit, just as He did to us,9 “and made no distinction between us and them, purifying [i.e. sanctifying] their hearts by faith.”
  • Acts 26:18 – “ ‘to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me.’” 

For sanctification to be worked in us we have to go to God and believe he will do it in us (Hebrews 1:1, 6).

Tenth, our role in the sanctifying process is attentiveness and full surrender. The entire Bible calls those who follow God to holiness (Leviticus 11:44; 1 Peter 1:15-16). Our responsibility is to present ourselves to God in obedient faith allowing Him to be our Lord and Master. We see this in the following verses:

  • Romans 6:12-19 – “12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts.13 And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.14 For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace. 15 What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not! 16 Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness? 17 But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered.18 And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.19 I speak in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves of uncleanness, and of lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves of righteousness for holiness.”
  • Romans 12:1-2 – “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”
  • Philippians 2:12 – “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;”

God is the one who works sanctification in us. It is as though Jesus knocks on the door of our heart and when we open up and invite Him in, He comes to clean up the mess we’ve made. Jesus is knocking and He wants to come into your heart and clean it up, won’t you invite Him in? (Revelation 3:20).

The Divinely Natured Person Experiences Three Transforming Works of the Spirit

 

The night before Jesus went to the cross He met with His disciples and one of the last things He taught them about before He went to the cross was about the Holy Spirit. Jesus told His disciples that He was going to pray to the Father and that “another Helper” (literally “one just like Him”) would come to abide with them forever. Jesus said:

  • John 14:16-17 – “And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.”

Jesus used two prepositions in the above passage to describe the relationship of the Holy Spirit with people. The Holy Spirit is “with” a person prior to conversion communicating God’s “truth” and persuading them of their need of salvation. The Holy Spirit comes “in” a person when they accept Jesus as Savior by faith and are born again. The Spirit comes “in” a person to regenerate them with eternal life.

Before we can examine the three works of the Spirit in the life of the believer, we need to consider the work of the Spirit in the unbeliever. The Spirit begins the work of salvation in the unbeliever by convicting the unbeliever of their need of salvation. Once saved, the Spirit begins the sanctifying process.

 

The Spirit’s Work in the Unbeliever – The Spirit “with” you

 

The first work of the Spirit in the unbeliever and the world is that of a Restrainer.  The Spirit works through the church to restrain evil in the world so that the world is not totally overcome with evil. This is supported by the following verses:

  • 2 Thessalonians 2:6-7 – “And now you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his own time.7 For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way.” 

“He who now restrains” is s reference to the Holy Spirit and His work in the world. The Holy Spirit creates an environment where evil is checked enough to allow a person to exert free will to make a decision regarding salvation.

The second work of the Spirit in regards to the unbeliever is that of Convictor.  The Spirit convicts the unbeliever of their need of a Savior. Jesus defined this work of the Spirit with the following words:

  • John 16:8-11 - “And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:9 “of sin, because they do not believe in Me;10 “of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more;11 “of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judge.”   

The Holy Spirit “convicts.” The word “convict” is translated from the Greek term ELEGCHO (Strong’s #1651 - ελέγχωelegcho, el-eng´-kho) meaning, “to confute, admonish; convict, convince, tell a fault, rebuke, reprove.”  [20] We find the sense of this term in the following verses:

  • John 3:20 - “For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.” 
  • Ephesians 5:11 – “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them.” 
  • 1 Timothy 5:20 – “Those who are sinning rebuke in the presence of all, that the rest also may fear.” 
  • James 2:9 – “but if you show partiality, you commit sin, and are convicted by the law as transgressors.” 
  • Jude 14-15 – “Now Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men also, saying, “Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints,15 “to execute judgment on all, to convict all who are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have committed in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.” 
  • Revelation 3:19 - “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent.” 

What is it that the Holy Spirit convicts the world of or exposes? The Holy Spirit convicts the unsaved world of three things.

First, “of sin because they do not believe in Me.” Jesus paid the penalty (death) for the sins of the world (1 John 2:2); the sin that dams to hell is rejecting the Spirit’s plea to accept Jesus as Savior (Mt. 12:31 – also called the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit). A persons’ eternal destiny is determined by whether or not they believe in Jesus. This is what the Spirit convicts the world of.

Second, “of righteousness because I go to My Father.”  Jesus died for the sins of the world and was raised from the dead. His resurrection indicates God was satisfied with His sacrifice for sin. Jesus then ascended to heaven and was seated at the right hand of God demonstrating that He is the standard and only acceptable means by which a person can enter heaven (Mark 16:19; Acts 2:33; 7:55-56; Romans 8:34; Colossians 3:1; Hebrews 10:11-18; 1 Peter 3:22). The Spirit convicts the world that works are inadequate to make one righteous and gain access to heaven because the standard of righteousness is Jesus, nothing less will be acceptable. Nicodemas was a very religious man but Jesus said he needed to be born again (John 3). The Holy Spirit exposes the futility of trying to do religious works to make oneself acceptable before God.

Third, “of judgment because the ruler of this world is judged.” The Holy Spirit convicts the world that the god of this world, Satan was judged on the cross of Christ (Colossians 2:13-17). The hold of Satan on the unbeliever can be broken when a person accepts Jesus as Savior because when Jesus comes into a heart He is greater than Satan (1 John 4:4).

That is the work of the Holy Spirit in the life of the unbeliever. What does the Holy Spirit do in the life of a believer?

The Three Transforming Works of the Spirit in the Believer

 

There are three things the Holy Spirit does in the life of a believer to transform them to the likeness of Jesus Christ. There are three transforming works of the Spirit in the believer. They are as follows.

The first thing the Holy Spirit does in the life of a believer is INDWELLING them at conversion.  This is the “in” (Greek EN) experience referred to in John 14:17. In John 3 this work is described as being “born again.” Later in John 4:13-14 Jesus describes this experience as drinking “living water” that quenches the thirst for spiritual fulfillment in every human. In John 20:22 Jesus further describes this experience as receiving the Holy Spirit when He breathes on the disciples and tells them to receive the Spirit.  Disciples received the Holy Spirit as Jesus breathed on them. When the Holy Spirit comes to reside inside a person (1 Corinthians 6:19-20), the process (sanctification) of being conformed to the likeness of Christ begins and continues throughout life (Romans 8:29). The Spirit bears witness and communicates the heart and truth of Jesus to the believer (John 14:26; 15:26; 16:13-14). We are God’s workmanship (Ephesians 2:10). He works in us (Philippians 2:13). The power of the risen Lord Jesus is in us and it is the Spirit that brings that power to us (Ephesians 1:15-23; 3:14-21). The love of Jesus works in us by the presence of the Holy Spirit in us (Romans 5:5). All these things are associated with the work of the Spirit in us.

The second thing the Holy Spirit does in the life of the believer is EMPOWERING the believer for service. As the believer is conformed to the likeness of Jesus by the Spirit, like Jesus the believer acquires a desire to be used by God to reach the lost in the world, to minister (Matthew 18:11; Mark 10:45; Luke 19:10). This is the “upon” (Greek preposition EPI) experience described by Jesus as torrents of living water gushing forth from the believer and as dynamic empowerment of the believer (John 7:37-39; Acts 1:8). In order to minister like Jesus, the believer needs to be empowered by God. If the believer seeks to serve in his or her own strength they will be frustrated and fail (Romans 7). They need to be supernaturally empowered and the Spirit provides that power. This power is invisible like the wind but powerful like a tornado (Acts 2). It is a fiery, purifying and cleansing of the heart by God. The believer surrenders their heart to God in faith trusting Him to work to destroy those challengers and hindrances to total trust in God (Acts 2; 15:8-9). The cleansing work of this empowerment attacks inhibitions and barriers between God and the believer. There is an essential empowerment for service subsequent to initial Spirit filling (Acts 1:8; 2). This empowerment involves Spiritual Gifting (Ephesians 4:7-13). This empowerment is the sufficiency of God’s grace revealed powerfully in our weakness (2 Corinthians. 12:9-10). The love of God working not only in us but also through us. This is the second work of the Spirit in the life of the believer.

The third work of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer is that of ONGOING REFRESHING. The believer needs to be refilled or daily renewed and filled with the Spirit who refreshes and empowers. Those empowered at Pentecost were refilled later (Acts 4). There are subsequent re-fillings and refreshing by the Spirit in the believer’s life. The sense of this ongoing third work is found in Paul’s inspired letter to the Ephesians when he states:

  • Ephesians 5:18 – “And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit,” 

The word “filled” is translated from the Greek term PLEROO (Strong’s #4137  - πληρόωpleroo, play-ro´-o) meaning ”to make replete, . . .to cram (a net), level up (a hollow), . . . to furnish (or imbue, diffuse, influence), satisfy, execute (an office), finish (a period or task), verify . . . accomplish, . . . complete, end, expire, fill (up), fulfill, (be, make) full (come), fully preach, perfect, supply.” Acts 4:31  - “And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.”

 

The New Transforming Life of the Spirit

 

This is the newness of the Spirit Paul is inspired to refer to in Romans 7:6. Is the Spirit in you? If you do not have the Spirit, you do not belong to God, you remain in your sins (Romans 8:9). Pray for forgiveness for your sins; put your faith in Jesus; receive the Holy Spirit and be born again.

Have you been empowered to serve the Lord? Are you frustrated and failing in your walk with God? Pray for His power and the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Receive it by faith.

Have you been empowered but feel as though you’re running on empty? Pray for a refreshing and refilling of the Spirit in your life. Walk in the Spirit, filled and refreshed daily and receive this regular daily work by faith. Faithful is He who calls you to this and He will do it! (1 Thessalonians 5:23-24).

 

Sanctified Transformation by Faith

The primary distinction that needs to be made and upon which all success rests, is for the believer to realize that SANCTIFICATION AS WELL AS SALVATION IS BASED ON FAITH. Sanctification is something God does in us. In Paul’s opening inspired words he introduced this point by saying:

  • Romans 1:17 – “For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.” 

As we mentioned in the introduction to this epistle, God offers salvation to us in a gracious provision through faith in His Son Jesus Christ. A person is saved from their sin when by faith in Jesus Christ they admit their sin, repent of it, and accept Jesus as their Savior and Lord. Sanctification is no different in that advance with the Lord in the power of the Holy spirit by faith, by putting our trust in God to do what He has promised to do in and through us which is, conform us to the likeness of His Son (Romans 8:29) and use us as His instruments of righteousness to reach a world lost in sin (Romans 12-16).

Read the role of faith in God’s work in us in the sanctification process of life described in the following additional verses:

  • Acts 15:8-9 - “So God, who knows the heart, acknowledged them by giving them the Holy Spirit, just as He did to us,9 “and made no distinction between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.” 
  • Acts 26:18 – “to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’” 
  • Galatians 2:20 - “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” 
  • Galatians 5:5 – “For we through the Spirit eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.”

The sanctifying process of God in the believer takes place as the believer puts their faith and trust in God to do it. We surrender in faith to the Holy Spirit to do His holy work in and through us.

How Dependable is God’s Word? - Jesus and the Law of Compound Probability

 

How dependable is God’s word? The area of prophecy is evidence that God’s word is completely and incredibly dependable. The incredible nature of God’s prophetic word shows us that the Bible is different than any other book. The word “holy” means separate and distinct; unique. We call God’s word “The Holy bible.” There is a reason why it is called the Holy Bible.

In his book Answers For Today and his message entitled, the More Sure Word 2 Peter 2:9 - 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,

One way God delivers the godly in the face of temptation is to inform them ahead of time of the impending dangers. God does this by the revelation that comes in His word. This is what God does through Peter. To be forewarned is to be forearmed.

 

As we look at the characteristics of these false teachers we might personalize this a bit by asking ourselves, are any of these characteristics in me? Based on chapter one, we want to follow in the foot steps of Jesus, not the false teachers described in this chapter. So use the catalogue of false teacher characteristics as a kind of personal inventory as well as to make a mental note of what to look out for in teachers.

The Destructive Deceitful Ways of False Teachers

2 Peter 2:1-3 - But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. 2 And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed. 3 By covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words; for a long time their judgment has not been idle, and their destruction does not slumber.

In these verses we find nine characteristics of false teachers that prove to be destructive to the work of God in us and in the church. These destructive ways are:

  1. Falsehood – 2:1a
  2. Secretiveness – 2:1b
  3. Destructiveness – 2:1c
  4. Deny the Lord who bought them – 2:1d – In other words, they emphasize works in a way that minimizes or disregards the completed work of Jesus on the cross (John 19:30).
  5. Swift destruction follows them – 2:1e
  6. They bring blasphemy to God’s truth – 2:2
  7. Covetous – 2:3a – lust after more of what they already have enough of.
  8. Exploitative – 2:3b – They use people to get what they want.
  9. Deceptive – 2:3c – they lie like their father the devil to get what they want; they bend the truth to their ends (John 8:44).

The Destiny of Doom for False Teachers

2 Peter 2:4-11 - For if God did not spare the angels who sinned, but cast them down to hell and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved for judgment; 5 and did not spare the ancient world, but saved Noah, one of eight people, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood on the world of the ungodly; 6 and turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes, condemned them to destruction, making them an example to those who afterward would live ungodly; 7 and delivered righteous Lot, who was oppressed by the filthy conduct of the wicked 8 (for that righteous man, dwelling among them, tormented his righteous soul from day to day by seeing and hearing their lawless deeds)— 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, 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.

Some commentators believe the angels referred to in verse four refers to the “sons of God” that sinned with the “daughters of men” that resulted in God’s judgment and Flood in Genesis 6. The word translated “hell” in verse four refers to TARTAROS; the deepest part of hell (Strong’s #5020 - ταρταρόω tartarŏō, tar-tar-ŏ´-o; Tartarŏs) a place of eternal incarceration and torment. Their judgment is a sure as that of the sinners judged by the Flood – 2:5

  1. Their judgment is as sure as that of Sodom and Gomorrah – 2:6-8

God knows how to save His people from the threat of false teachers (2:9). But that threat is real and we should be alert to recognize it. Peter says false teachers are characterized by:

  1. Walking according to their flesh/ self-centeredness – 2:10a
  2. Lust of uncleanness – 2:10b
  3. Despise authority – 2:10c
  4. Presumptuous – 2:10d
  5. Self-willed – 2:10e
  6. Proud and not afraid to speak evil of dignitaries – 2:10f-11.

Those who live in such a way have a destiny of destruction.

The Depravity of False Teachers

2 Peter 2:12-17 - 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.

What makes false teachers so evil is that they are depraved. What does depraved mean? Just look at how Peter describes these false teachers in these verses and you will get a good definition of depravity

  1. Like animals – 2:12 – Heartless; dog eat dog; merciless; insensitive to God.
  2. Pleasure oriented – 2:13 – hedonistic
  3. Adulterous – 2:14a – They disregard commitments made in the sight of God; they disregard holy matrimony
  4. Habitual sinners – 2:14b – They sin and don’t care that they sin.
  5. They entice others to join them in sin – 2:14c
  6. They train themselves in covetousness or how to take things from others – 2:14d
  7. They have forsaken the right way of God’s word – 2:15a
  8. Like Balaam they are willing to manipulate ministry to gain position and profit – 2:15b-16 (cf. Num. 22).
  9. They are without the Spirit of God – 2:17

This isn’t a pretty picture but it is a clear and accurate one.

The Debilitating Disease of False Teachers

2 Peter 2:18-22 - 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.”

What the false prophet spreads is like a cancer to the believer and the church of God. False teaching is like a disease that infects and spreads. This false teaching disease is characterized by:

  1. Empty talk – 2:18a – A lot of words are said with no substance in the end.
  2. Alluring people with lusts and lewdness (e.g. sex) – 2:18b
  3. What they teach is ultimately enslaving – 2:19
  4. Their sin is great because they do it knowingly and they do it knowingly because they are dead to the Spirit – 2:20-21
  5. What they spread is like vomit – 2:22

A Summary of the Signs of a False Prophet

Before you can prescribe an antidote, you have to determine the poison or disease. Below are some key summary verses to help us identify poisonous false prophets:

  1. Through signs and wonders they lead astray after false gods - Deuteronomy 13:1-4; Matthew 24:23-27
  2. Their prophecies don't come to pass - Deuteronomy 18:20-22
  3. They contradict God's Word – there is no light in them - Isaiah 8:20
  4. They lie in the name of God – Jeremiah 14:14
  5. They act presumptuously in the name of God (God has not called them) – Ezekiel 13:2-9
  6. They are deceptive like wolves in sheep’s clothing – Matthew 7:15
  7. They bear bad fruit - Matthew 7:18-20
  8. All men speak well of them - Luke 6:26
  9. They deny that Jesus, the one and only Christ, has come once and for all in the flesh - 1 John 4:3
  10. False prophets arise from the congregation of God – 2 Peter 2:1a

What Should We Do About False Prophets?

What should we do about all the deception, false prophets and false teachers in the world? Below is a list of actions for us to take to protect our selves and our loved ones from the deceptive attacks of the enemy.

  1. Be alert – Luke 21:34-36
  2. Examine yourself and be certain of your own salvation – 2 Corinthians 13:5
  3. Put your spiritual armor on and be aware of your enemy – Ephesians 6:10-18; 1 Peter 5:8-9
  4. Put their teachings to the test of scripture – 1 Thessalonians 5:21-22; 1 John 4:1
  5. Warn and rebuke false prophets or false teachers hoping for them to escape Satan’s snare and repent - 2 Timothy 2:24-26
  6. If false prophets are unrepentant they need to be rejected – Titus 3:10
  7. Contend for the once for all Faith – Jude 3; Ezekiel 3:17-19; 2 Timothy 2:15; 3:15-17
  8. speak God’s truth in love – Ephesians 4:15; 2 Corinthians 5:14-16
  9. Understand that false prophets area destined for the eternal Lake of Fire – Revelation 21:8

Do these things and you will be the discerning person God calls you to be.

What Manner of Persons Ought You To Be? –

 

Application / Discussion Questions

 

  1. What is the consequence of not growing in the knowledge of God?

  1. What do you think about the destructive ways of false teachers as described by Peter? (2:1-3). Have you seen any of these ways in teachers?

  1. Which destructive way of false teachers do you think is the most damming?

  1. Do you see any of the destructive ways of false teachers in your life?

  1. What do you think about the destiny of doom for false teachers? (2:4-11)

  1. What do you think about the depraved nature of false teachers? (2:12-17) Do you think this is an accurate representation of false teachers?

  1. Why do you think the ways of false teachers is like a debilitating disease? (2:18-22)

  1. What do you think you should do about false prophets and false teachers?

  1. What can you do to protect your loved ones from false prophets and false teachers?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What Manner of Persons Ought You To Be? -

We Ought to Be Prophetically Diligent Persons

– 2 Peter 3 – Be Aware

Peter now draws to the end of his letter of last words. These last words of Peter are about the Lasts Days and what we can expect as the return of Jesus approaches. As a divinely natured, discerning and prophetically diligent person we ought to understand what will characterize the Last Days and what is the destiny that lay before us because of the promises of God.

Why Should We Care?

Perhaps we should ask the question, “Why should we care about the Last Days?” The phrase, “Last Days” implies an end to life as we know it. This world is not eternal and will not go on forever.  How we view the Last Days and the end of this world as we know it has an impact on how we live our lives. C.S. Lewis once said, “It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this one.”

Another reason for paying attention to what the Bible says about the Last Days is because every gospel and nearly every letter of the New Testament has something to say about the Last Days. God would not have devoted so much space to the topic of the Last Days unless He felt it was important for His people to know about it.

Most importantly, Jesus exhorted His followers to pay attention to the signs of the Last Days. He said:

  • Matthew 24:42 - 42 Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming.
  • Matthew 25:13 - 13 “Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming.
  • Mark 13:9 - 9 “But watch out for yourselves, for they will deliver you up to councils, and you will be beaten in the synagogues. You will be brought before rulers and kings for My sake, for a testimony to them.
  • Mark 13:33 - 33 Take heed, watch and pray; for you do not know when the time is.
  • Mark 13:34 - 34 It is like a man going to a far country, who left his house and gave authority to his servants, and to each his work, and commanded the doorkeeper to watch.
  • Mark 13:35 - 35 Watch therefore, for you do not know when the master of the house is coming—in the evening, at midnight, at the crowing of the rooster, or in the morning—
  • Mark 13:37 - 37 And what I say to you, I say to all: Watch!”
  • Luke 21:36 - 36 Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.”
  • Revelation 3:3 - 3 Remember therefore how you have received and heard; hold fast and repent. Therefore if you will not watch, I will come upon you as a thief, and you will not know what hour I will come upon you.

There are other passages throughout the New Testament that tell us to watch and be aware of the days in which we live (1 Corinthians 16:13; 1 Thessalonians 5:6).

If Jesus instructs His followers to do something, we ought to do it. He instructs us to be aware of the times in which we live. In light of that, what can we expect in the Last Days?  And living in light of the Last Days will have a purifying impact on us (compare 1 John 3:3).

I love my wife. My wife loves lobsters. My wife loves surprise parties. With this in mind months before my wife was to turn fifty, I thought it would be great to plan a surprise party. I contacted all her family and friends to arrange for the party plot. I even contacted a dear friend of hers from Kentucky and arranged for her to attend. But the biggest guest was a ten pound lobster!

This party took a lot of thought and planning, not to mention self control to keep the secret. I had a big banner made up announcing the surprise and arranged to have the party at our church. And when the day arrived my wife was totally surprised and elated with the outcome. To this day she speaks glowingly of the party. Now here’s the point, when I was spending my time and energy preparing for her arrival, I was all caught up in the impact my act of love would have on her and the joy it would bring my bride. While I was focused on completing this task, my mind wasn’t wandering to or distracted by thoughts of other women, or sinful fantasies. When my focus was on doing this act of love for the one I loved, it kept me from being distracted and overcome by temptations that might have caused me to sin if I were idle and inattentive to my wife’s needs. When we are focused on Jesus and His return and pleasing Him with our efforts and life upon His return, it keeps us from the junk of sin that would otherwise bring us down. Paying attention to the times in which we live and living in readiness for our Savior’s return will help us live holy lives here and now. (And the lobster is good too!)

So what can we expect in the Last Days and what should we be looking for?

There Will Be Scoffers

2 Peter 3:1-3 - 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,

All we need to know to prepare us for the Last Days is contained in the Bible. And Peter says that the prophets of the Old Testament and the apostles of the New Testament both testify that there will be scoffers in the last days. The Bible that scoffers are:

  1. Wicked - Proverbs 9:7
  2. Unwilling to take rebuke - Proverbs 9:7, 8
  3. Incorrigible - Proverbs 15:12
  4. Abomination - Proverbs 24:9

“Scoffers” – (Strong’s #1703 – EMPAIKTES)are characterized as being a mocker; scoffer; to scorn; deride; show contempt. (Jude 18)

 

There Will Be Skeptics

2 Peter 3:4-7 - 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.

What is it that these last days scoffers will be mocking? They will mock the idea that Jesus is coming back. They will say everything is the same as it was in biblical times and there’s no reason or evidence that Jesus will return (3:4). But they say these things willfully forgetting that creation was made by God’s spoken word and the same End Times events prophetically promised by God will be brought to pass (3:5-7). Notice too the reference to Creation; this is where much of the attack against Christianity is occurring today.

The Escape


One day an ape escaped from the Bronx Zoo.

They searched for him everywhere, in every borough. They announced his disappearance on the radio and television as well as the newspapers. But, no one reported seeing the ape.

At last, he was discovered in the New York Public Library. Animal Control and Zoo officials were summoned to the library. They found the ape sitting at a desk in the reading room with two books spread out in front of him. The ape was reading with great concentration. One book was the Bible; the other was The Origin of Species by Darwin.

The zoo keepers asked the ape what he was doing. The ape replied, "I'm trying to figure out whether I am my brother's keeper or whether I am my keeper's brother."

The Atheist and the Bear

An atheist was walking through the woods one day in Alaska, admiring all that evolution had created. "What majestic trees! What a powerful river! What beautiful animals!" he said to himself. As he was walking alongside the river, he heard a rustling in the bushes behind him. Turning to look, he saw a 13-foot Kodiak brown bear beginning to charge towards him. He ran as fast as he could down the path. He looked over his shoulder and saw that the bear was rapidly closing on him. Somehow, he ran even faster, so scared that tears came to his eyes. He looked again and the bear was even closer. His heart pounding in his chest, he tried to run faster yet. But alas, he tripped and fell to the ground. As he rolled over to pick himself up, the bear was right over him, reaching for him with its left paw and raising its right paw to strike him.

"OH MY GOD! ..."

Time stopped.

The bear froze.

The forest was silent.

Even the river stopped moving ...

As a brilliant light shone upon the man, a thunderous voice came from all around...

"YOU DENY MY EXISTENCE FOR ALL THESE YEARS, TEACH OTHERS THAT I DON'T EXIST AND EVEN CREDIT CREATION TO SOME COSMIC ACCIDENT. DO YOU EXPECT ME TO HELP YOU OUT OF THIS PREDICAMENT? AM I TO COUNT YOU AS A BELIEVER?"

Difficult as it was, the atheist looked directly into the light and said, "It would be hypocritical to ask to be a Christian after all these years, but perhaps you could make the bear a Christian?"

"VERY WELL." Said God.

The light went out.

The river ran.

The sounds of the forest resumed.

... and the bear dropped down on his knees, brought both paws together, bowed his head and spoke: "Lord, thank you for this food which I am about to receive."

There is A Supreme Truth

2 Peter 3:8-10 - 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. 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 begins by exhorting his readers, “do not forget this one thing” (3:8a). There is one thing we ought to pay special attention to and that is, “that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day” (3:8b), that is God’s timing is different than our timing; God operates with a different set of priorities than we do. We might look at our lives and if they aren’t to our satisfaction we hope and pray for God’s return to end our misery. If when we look at our lives we feel good about ourselves and our present state, we pray and hope for God to delay. But God’s priorities are so much greater than that; His ways are far superior to ours (Isaiah 55:8-9).

God’s priorities are eternal. Peter goes on to say, “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” (3:9). God is willing to hold off His culmination of all things so that more people would have time to repent and be saved from their sin so they can spend eternity with Him. God has this priority because He knows how horrific hell will be and He knows how blessed heaven will be. God has this perspective because He knows how severely trying the seven year period of Tribulation will be, and He knows how blessed the Marriage Supper of the Lamb will be (Revelation 19:7-10). God desires for all people to repent and be saved from their sin and sin’s punishment and therefore He is willing to put up with more of the misery of sin on earth if it means the salvation of some.

But Peter also adds, “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” (3:10). The day will eventually come when God will bring all this fallen world to an end. He has a plan that He has described for us prophetically so that we can be prepared. God’s end will come suddenly and it will be thorough. God has gone to great lengths to warn us in His word and each succeeding generation of His followers have been urged to watch for the Day of the Lord. It will come. It may be at a time we didn’t expect. But it will come. Will we be ready? Will you be ready?

The supreme or solitary truth to hang on to is that God will not forget what He has promised but in His timing will bring it all to pass; just like He said He would.

The Sequence of End Times Events

 

What is the sequence of End Times events as depicted by the Bible? The sequence is as follows:

First, Jesus will return to the clouds for His church. This is referred to as the Rapture. The Rapture is a secret event and described by the words, “as a thief in the night” referring to the time when Jesus will set off the sequence of events in the End Time scenario. The Rapture is separate and distinct from the Second Coming (Titus 2:13). The Rapture is imminent, it can happen at any time, that is why we are constantly told in scripture to watch and be ready (Luke 21:36; 1 Corinthians 16:13-14; 1 Thessalonians 5:6). There is no other event that needs to happen before the Rapture occurs. The Rapture precedes the seven year Tribulation which is a period of time during which God will pour out His wrath on a Christ rejecting world (Matthew 24-25; Mark 13; Luke 21; Revelation 6-18). Christians are not destined anymore to experience God’s outpoured wrath (Romans 5:10; 1 Thessalonians 1:10; 5:10; Revelation 3:10) and therefore the Rapture is Jesus coming to remove, coming for the church (i.e. all genuine born again believers) from this world before God pours out His wrath (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; 5:1-11). In the Rapture Jesus comes to the clouds and genuine believers meet Him in the air. At this point Jesus takes His believers to heaven to the Marriage Supper of the Lamb which lasts the entire seven years of the period of Tribulation on earth (Revelation 19:7-10).

 

Second, the antichrist will rise to power. When Jesus removes His church from the world it will leave a tremendous void. The Holy Spirit works in the world to retrain evil and with the church removed, all hell will break loose. This is the worldwide environment from which Antichrist will arise (2 Thessalonians 2:1-12). The Antichrist is not necessarily one who will be the opposite to Jesus, but is one who will come instead of Jesus, one who will assume a messianic place for the world, he will be the “savior” sent by Satan who will deceive the world through lying signs and wonders; he will be charismatic, a good talker and politician. In fact it is the Antichrist who will bring about peace in the Middle East by enforcing a plan with Israel (Daniel 9:24-27). He will look like the answer for the world’s problems until he begins to use his position as a world leader to enforce his will on the world (Revelation 13).

Third, there will be seven years of tribulation and wrath. When the church is removed by Jesus from the world, it will mark the beginning of seven years of tribulation on the earth. This period of time will serve to wake up Israel as a nation so they will see Jesus as their long waited for Messiah (at the end of the Tribulation Zechariah 12:10). This will be a time of great war and attacks on Israel that will threaten her very existence (Ezekiel 38-39). But during the Tribulation there will also be a great revival spearheaded by mostly messianic Jews who have accepted Jesus as their Savior (Revelation 7; 11; 14). But those who accept Jesus as Savior during this time will likely suffer martyrdom at the hands of Antichrist who will show his true underlying beastly ways (Revelation 12). During this time God will by His outpoured wrath, be trying one last time to shake up the unbelieving world from their rebellious rejection of Jesus and God. During this time God is also making up the world like a maid cleans up a dirty room. God will fumigate the world I preparation for His only son Jesus’ reign on earth. During this time there will be unprecedented turmoil and trial brought about by God’s treatment of the Christ rejecting world (Matthew 24:21; Revelation 6-18). Jerusalem will be a cup of trembling drunkenness in the world, the center of the final battle that will culminate this time of tribulation (Zechariah 12:2-3). The world will assemble against Israel in a final battle, the Battle of Armageddon and the only thing that will save Israel will be the return of Jesus (Revelation 16:13-16; 1911-19). The end of this battle will mark the defeat of Antichrist and his false prophet (Revelation 19:20) and the doom of the world’s Christ rejecting leaders (Revelation 19:21).

Fourth, Jesus will return to earth with His Church at the 2nd Coming. At the end of the seven year period known as the Tribulation there will be a battle called the battle of Armageddon (Revelation 16:13-16; 1911-21). The world will be assembled against Israel at this battle and all will seem lost. It is at this point that Jesus returns to the earth with His saints to defeat the Antichrist and his forces and establish His millennial reign on the earth (Jude 14; Revelation 19 and 20). The Second Coming occurs at the end of the seven year Tribulation (see context of the Olivet Discourse of Jesus – Matthew 24). It is not a secret event but every eye will see Jesus when He returns (Revelation 1:7; Matthew 24:29-31).  

 

Fifth, there will be a thousand year reign of Christ on the earth. Jesus will then reign on earth for 1000 years (Isaiah 2:1-4; 11:1-10; 35:1-10; Zechariah 14:9; Revelation 20:1-6). Jesus headquarters will be in Jerusalem during this time (Micah 4:1-2) and the nations will come to worship Him there (Zechariah 14:12). Believers taken by Jesus at the Rapture will oversee the world during this time (2Timothy 2:12). This will be a time of peace (Isaiah 2:4; 9:6-7) and enforced justice (psalm 2; Isaiah 11:3-5).

Sixth, there will be a final judgment for those who reject Jesus. Those who reject Jesus will be judged. At the end of the Millennial reign of Jesus on earth Satan will be allowed to tempt and deceive the world once more (Revelation 20:7-9). Then Satan, Antichrist and the False Prophet along with those that followed Satan in this final uprising as well as all those who have rejected Jesus in their lifetime sin the past, will be brought before God at the final Great White Throne Judgment, their sentence will be carried out, they will all be cast into the Lake of Fire eternally (Revelation 20:11-15; John 5:22).

Seventh, the present earth and heavens will be dissolved by God and He will regenerate or create a new heaven and new earth. God is going to remove and destroy the sin effected environment (2 Peter 3:10-12; Isaiah 34:4). God will make up or regenerate a new environment unstained by sin and perfectly new (Revelation 21:1-2; 2 Peter 3:10-13). We will be forever with the Lord (John 14:3; 1 Thessalonians 4:17). There will be no more death curse on humanity (1 Corinthians 15:24-28; Revelation 21:3-5; 22:3).

 

The Rapture and the 2nd Coming of Christ

Even a superficial reading of the Bible would reveal that it speaks of a return of Jesus to the earth. But when we look at the Bible and its words on the return of Jesus we see that there are seeming contradictions in the descriptions of the return of Jesus. This apparent discrepancy is explained by understanding that the return of Jesus is twofold. There are two distinct aspects of Jesus’ return in the End Times, the Rapture and the 2nd Coming of Christ. These two comings are mentioned together in Titus 2:13 which states:

  • Titus 2:13 - “looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ,”

 Below is the scriptural evidence that shows that there are two distinct aspects of Jesus return, the Rapture and the 2nd Coming.

“The blessed hope’ – The Rapture            

 

  1. Imminent: Can happen at any time; not preceded by signs – Luke 12:35-40; 1 Corinthians 16:22; Philippians 3:20-22; James 5:7-9
  2. Jesus comes secretly as a “Thief in the night” – 1 Thessalonians 5:1-2
  3. Jesus comes when people are at peace and safety – 1 Thessalonians 5:3
  4. Jesus comes for His bride the church – 1Thessalonians 4:17
  5. Jesus comes for His church and meets them in the clouds to take them to heaven – John 14:1-3; 1 Thessalonians 4:17.
  6. The rapture is a “blessed hope” because Jesus removes Christians from the earth before God pours out His wrath (Matthew 24:21; Mark 13:19; Revelation 6:17; 7:14; 11:18; 16:1) on a Christ-rejecting world – Romans 5:8-9; 1 Thessalonians 1:10; 5:9; Revelation 2:25; 3:10; 4:1 (compare Genesis 18:23-33).

“The glorious Appearing” – 2nd Coming

 

  1. Preceded by many signs – Daniel 2:44-45; 7:9-14; 12:1; Matthew 24; Mark 13; Luke 21; Revelation 6-19.
  2. Jesus comes visibly for all to see – Matthew 24:29-31; 26:64; Revelation 1:7
  3. Jesus comes at a time of world conflict – Revelation 19
  4. Jesus comes with His bride the church and sends His angels to collect all offenders – Zechariah 14:1-7; 1 Thessalonians 3:13Jude 14; Revelation 20:1-6; Matthew 13:41-43
  5. Jesus returns to the earth on the Mount of Olives and establishes His kingdom – Zechariah 14:1-7; Revelation 20:1-6.
  6. The 2nd Coming is a “glorious appearing” because it is the culmination of a great judgment of God via an awesome period of God’s wrath on earth – 2 Thessalonians 1:6-10; 2:8; 2 Timothy 4:1; Revelation 19

 

There is the Salvation of the Lord in Sight

2 Peter 3:11-16 - 11 Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, 12 looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat? 13 Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. 14 Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless; 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.

Peter tells us that in light of what lays ahead for us in the Last Days, we ought to live our lives with a holy heart and with good godly attitudes (3:11). The reliability of God’s promises and what we have been told about the end times should move us to live in a certain way (3:11). This holy conduct and godliness can be summarized by looking at this passage where it states:  

  1. We ought to look for and expect His return – 3:12a
  2. We ought to live with right priorities – 3:12b – It’s all going to burn.
  3. We ought to stand on God’s promises – 3:13
  4. We ought to look forward to these things or have a positive outlook – 3:14a
  5. We ought to be at peace with God and the peace of God – 3:14b (cf. Philippians 4:6-9).
  6. We ought to appreciate God’s longsuffering because it means salvation for the lost – 3:15a
  7. We ought to study the Word of God even though some of it is hard for us to understand; and we should never manipulate God’s word to get what we want – 3:15b-16

Basically what we need to do is live with God’s salvation in sight and conduct our lives from that Last Days and heavenly perspective.

There is the Steadfastness of the Saints

2 Peter 3:17-18 - 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; 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.

Now that you know these things, get ready! Be prepared! It’s not impossible for you to be led astray if you neglect God’s word. If you ignore or neglect what you’ve been told in this epistle, you’re setting yourself up for a fall. Don’t be like the foolish virgins Jesus spoke about (Matthew 25:: 1-13). Beware of the lure of the wicked that can sidetrack you from your steadfastness with the Lord (3:17). Rather, grow in God’s grace and in the knowledge of Jesus our Lord (3:18a). Give glory to God always along the way (3:18b). To this we can all say we are in agreement; Amen! (3:18c).

Seven Spiritual Safety Steps for the End Times

Throughout the Bible we are exhorted to be ready for the End Times period that is coming. While true believers will be raptured before the seven year period of Tribulation, we will still see the beginning of the signs and deception that will be on the rise in the world. Below are seven safety steps to take to prepare the believer to not only remain safe during such times, but to be productive instruments in the hands of God during this time. What are these seven safety steps?

First, Don’t Be Deluded Away from the Simplicity of a Personal Gospel

The first we need to guard against getting away from the simplicity of God’s word. Paul specifically mentioned and warned against getting away from “the simplicity of Christ,” saying:

  • 2 Corinthians 11:3-4 – “But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.4 For if he who comes preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or if you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted—you may well put up with it!”

Notice that Paul mentions “another Jesus,” “a different spirit,” and “a different gospel.” These alternatives to the simplicity of salvation by grace through faith alone in Christ alone are all from “the serpent.” There is a segment of the “Church” that has anathematized those who hold to the simple gospel of grace in Christ. But those who depart from the simple gospel of Christ are the one’s anathematized according to Paul who states:

  • Galatians 1:3-8 – “Grace to you and peace from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ,4 who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father,5 to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen. 6 I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel,7 which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ.8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed.” 

Don’t complicate what God has revealed in simplicity. The gospel has been made simple so that as many as possible can understand it and be saved. When we complicate the gospel it creates a barrier between God and His salvation that He never intended to be there. The acronym KISS is applicable here which stands for Keep It Simple Stupid. I don’t mean to sound coarse, but human beings are “stupid.” The Bible doesn’t refer to people, in particular believers, as “sheep” by accident. Sheep are amongst the dullest of animals. A sheep will graze on grass and be so un-alert to its surroundings that it will go right off a cliff following the good grass. In the same way, people are by nature not alert to their spiritual needs and God’s revelation and so we need to be in step with the Spirit to discern the times in which we live. This starts by sticking to the simplicity of the gospel.

Second, Understand There Will Be a Falling Away [Apostasy], Lying Signs and Wonders That Precede Antichrist’s Rise

Paul states to the Thessalonians church:

  • 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4, 9-11 – “Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, 4 who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God. . . . 9 The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders,10 and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth,[See John 17:17]that they might be saved.11 And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie,” 

The believer will be raptured to Christ before the revealing of antichrist, but we will likely begin to see some of these signs that precede him start to crop up. There will be apostasy in the church, a moving away form Biblically based doctrine. People will begin to focus on signs and wonders, on experiential based religion rather than a faith based on and built in the truth of God’s word. The result of turning away from God’s truth like those who “did not receive the love of the truth” is that, “god will send them strong delusion that they should believe the lie.” Notice that rejecting God’s truth automatically predisposes you to being deluded by “the lie.” This is a particular lie referred to here.

“The lie” points us back to the first lie told to Eve by Satan in the Garden of Eden. That lie (found in Genesis 3) basically purported that God is not essential to life, you don’t have to obey Him, He is not out for your best interests, and you can be your own lord and god. This is the lie that those who rebel against God’s truth will succumb to.

Third, Examine Yourself

Paul was inspired to write to the Corinthians:

  • 2 Corinthians 13:5 – “Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified.” 

All people should examine themselves regularly to check where they’re at with the Lord. We need to keep up to date with the Lord making sure we are not making provisions for our flesh or being deluded by the enemy in some way.

Fourth, Beware the Enemy

Both Paul and Peter warned believers against the tactics and strategies of Satan who is relentless in his pursuit to destroy believers. They said:

  • Ephesians 6:10-12 –Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” 
  • 1 Peter 5:8-9 – “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.9 Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.” 

Be aware of your enemy and his desire to eat you alive! That problem you have with that other person or situation is not simply an issue with them, it is likely fueled and backed by a strategy of Satan to get at you in some way. Beware of Satan and keep things in spiritual perspective.

Fifth, Be Alert

Pay attention to these wise words of Jesus:

  • Luke 21:34-36 - “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.35 “For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth.36 “Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.” 

Jesus tells us to be alert and avoid being weighed down with things in this world which will prevent us from being ready when Jesus returns. Jesus tells us to be prayerful, especially prayerful of being “counted worthy to escape all these things.” The way we can escape all of these things is by way of the rapture and Jesus would not have told us to pray to escape unless it were possible. This is evidence for a pre-Tribulation Rapture.

Sixth, Contend For The Faith

When a football team gains a lead on its opponent, sometimes they go into what is called a “prevent defense,” they lay back and try to protect their lead. A wise aficionado of football knows that all a “prevent defense” prevents against is that team using it from winning the game. In the same way, once we have received Jesus as our Savior we shouldn’t go into hiding from the world. To do that would only cause our spiritual muscles to atrophy. We need to flex our spiritual muscles in the Spirit. We need to go for the jugular of Satan when in the Spirit we have him down. The time left before Jesus’ return is very short, we shouldn’t be hiding in our homes, but out contending earnestly for the truth of God. This is what the Bible tells us when it states:

  • Jude 3 – “Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.” 
  • Ezekiel 3:17-19 - “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; therefore hear a word from My mouth, and give them warning from Me:18 “When I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life, that same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at your hand.19 “Yet, if you warn the wicked, and he does not turn from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you have delivered your soul.” 
  • 2 Timothy 2:15,24-26 – “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. . . 24 And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient,25 in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth,26 and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will.” 
  • 2 Timothy 3:16-17 – “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 

The word of God is the sword of the Spirit (Ephesians 6:10-18), let’s weald it in the Spirit and be used by the Lord. Let’s go on the attack and take as many people to heaven with us as we can.

Seventh, Speak the Truth in Love

There was once a disciple of Jesus who when His betrayer came to take Jesus into custody, drew his sword and chopped off the ear of one of those who came for Jesus. The scene and Jesus’ response are recording thusly:

  • Matthew 26:50-56 – “But Jesus said to him, “Friend, why have you come?” Then they came and laid hands on Jesus and took Him.51 And suddenly, one of those who were with Jesus stretched out his hand and drew his sword, struck the servant of the high priest, and cut off his ear.52 But Jesus said to him, “Put your sword in its place, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword.53 “Or do you think that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He will provide Me with more than twelve legions of angels?54 “How then could the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must happen thus?”55 In that hour Jesus said to the multitudes, “Have you come out, as against a robber, with swords and clubs to take Me? I sat daily with you, teaching in the temple, and you did not seize Me.56 “But all this was done that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled.” Then all the disciples forsook Him and fled.” 

There is a lesson to be learned here. We are not to hack away at people with the word of God which is the sword of the Spirit. Instead we are to use it in love, we are to speak God’s truth in love, in a way that brings them lovingly to Jesus and treats there sinful disease in love. Paul stated it this way:

  • Ephesians 4:11-15 – “And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers,12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ,13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ;14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting,15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ” 

In all that we do as believers, we are to be moved and motivated by the love of God He has put in our hearts by the Holy Spirit. Paul was inspired to say this in the following way.

  • 2 Corinthians 5:14-16 – “For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died;15 and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.16 Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer.” 

These are the seven spiritual safety steps we should seek to have the Spirit put into place in our lives.

There will be strong delusion in the Last Days

 

God warns in His word that in the Last Days there will be a very strong delusion in the world:

  • 1 Timothy 4:1-2 – “Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons,2 speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron,”
  • 2 Timothy 3:1-9 – “But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come:2 For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,3 unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good,4 traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God,5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!6 For of this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts,7 always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.8 Now as Jannes and Jambres resisted Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, disapproved concerning the faith;9 but they will progress no further, for their folly will be manifest to all, as theirs also was.” 
  • Matthew 24:3-5, 23-25 – “Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?”4 And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you.5 “For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. . . . 23 “Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There!’ do not believe it.24 “For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.25 “See, I have told you beforehand.”

The strong delusion that will pervade the Last Days is a delusion to leave the simplicity of the Gospel of God. Evidence of such a delusion is found I the following scriptures.

  • 2 Corinthians 11:3-4 – “But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.4 For if he who comes preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or if you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted—you may well put up with it!”
  • Galatians 1:3-8 – “Grace to you and peace from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ,4 who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father,5 to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen. 6 I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel,7 which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ.8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed.”  

These verses were written to the saints in the early church, but they show us what will grow throughout history and will come into full bloom in the Last Days.

Jesus taught His disciples that the gospel was simple in that it was a singular exclusive way to God. We see this in the following verses:

  • Matthew 7:13-14 - 13 “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it.14 “Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.”  

Jesus said that not everyone who calls Him Lord would be an authentic follower of His. He taught this in the Sermon on the Mount where He stated:

  • Matthew 7:21-27 - “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’23 “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’ 24 “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock:25 “and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.26 “But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand:27 “and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.”  

Later in the Gospel of John Jesus said to His disciples that He was the exclusive way to God:

  • John 14:6 – “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” 

This was confirmed in the experience of the early church as recorded in Acts and was the teaching of the apostles in their letters:

  • Acts 4:12 - “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” 
  • Romans 8:9-11 – “But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.10 And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.” 
  • 1 Corinthians 15:1-11 – “Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand,2 by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.3 For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,4 and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures,5 and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve.6 After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep.7 After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles.8 Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time.9 For I am the least of the apostles, who am not worthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.11 Therefore, whether it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed.” 

As we draw near to the Last Days the enemy will work feverishly to draw people away from the simple Gospel of God to alternatives that are really the doctrines of demons. Paul was inspired to teach this saying:

  • 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4,9-11 – “Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition,4 who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God. . . . 9 The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders,10 and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth,[See John 17:17]that they might be saved.11 And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie,” 

The Christina church has been likened to an army (2 Timothy 2:4). For an army to be effective it has to be well equipped and well trained and highly motivated. God has provided all that we need for this battle (2 Peter 1:3-4; 2 Timothy 3:16-17). He provides us with spiritual armor with which we can stand against the attacks of the enemy (Ephesians 6:10-18). And we should be highly motivated by God’s love (Romans 5:5; 2 Corinthians 5:14-21). With that in mind, a commitment is often sealed with an oath, a faith pledge to be an active enlistee. That is what we have below. May we prayerfully in the Spirit by faith make this oath a part of us and march on with the Lord (Romans 8:37).

God's Army - OATH OF ENLISTMENT

RAISE YOUR RIGHT HAND; PLACE YOUR LEFT HAND OVER YOUR HEART:

REPEAT THESE WORDS: I'm a Soldier!  A Soldier in the Army of God. I am a soldier in the army of my God! I promise to support and defend The Word of God, against all enemies! The Lord Jesus Christ is my Commander in Chief! The Holy Spirit is my Secretary of Defense! The Holy Bible is my Code of Conduct! Faith, Prayer and the Word are my weapons of warfare!

I have been taught by the Holy Spirit, trained by experience, tried by adversity and tested by fire!

I am a volunteer in this army, and I am enlisted for eternity!!!! I will either retire in this army at the rapture, or die in this Army... But I will not get out, sell out, be talked out, or pushed out!!!

I am faithful, reliable, capable and dependable! If my God needs me, I am there!  If He needs me in Sunday school to teach children, work with the youth, help adults, encourage my fellow soldiers, or just sit and learn, He can use me, because I am there!

I am a soldier!  I am not a baby!  I do not need to be pampered, petted, primed up, pumped up, picked up or pepped up! I am a soldier!  No one has to call me, remind me, write me, visit me, entice me or lure me! I am a soldier! I am not a wimp! I am in place, saluting my King, obeying His orders, praising His name and building His kingdom! No one has to send me flowers, gifts, food, cards, candy, or give me handouts! I do not need to be cuddled, cradled, cared for, or catered to!

I am committed! I cannot have my feelings hurt bad enough to turn me around! I cannot be discouraged enough to turn me aside! I cannot lose enough to cause me to quit! When Jesus called me into this army, I had nothing! If I end up with nothing, I will still come out even!  I will win! My God will supply all my needs!  I am more than a conqueror!! I will always triumph!!!  I can do all things through Christ!!!! Devils cannot defeat me!  People cannot disillusion me! Weather cannot weary me!  Sickness cannot stop me! Battles cannot beat me!  Money cannot buy me! Governments cannot silence me and HELL CANNOT HANDLE ME!

I am a soldier! Even death cannot destroy me! For when my commander calls me from this battlefield, He will promote me to a captain and then bring me back to rule this world with Him! I am a soldier, in the army, and I'm marching, claiming victory! I will not give up!  I will not turn around! I am a soldier, marching heaven bound! Here I stand! Ask those around you, “WILL YOU STAND WITH ME?”

If you've accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior, you're already enlisted! But there is a question as to the manner of soldier you are. Are you on:

Active Duty: Serving the Lord faithfully, daily, and on duty, 24x7, 365 days a year.

Reserve Status: Serving only when called upon, or twice a year-Christmas and Easter

Guard Status: Backing up the Active Duty group or...

AWOL:  Absent With Out the Lord

Peter asked “What manner of persons ought you to be?” We are to be divinely natured persons, discerning persons and prophetically diligent persons. Another way of saying that is, We are to be soldiers for the Lord! The final questions are: Are you a soldier of the Lord? And if you are, what kind of solider of the Lord are you? Answer those questions and you will have answered Peter’s question, “What manner of persons ought you to be?”

What Manner of Persons Ought You To Be? –

 

Application / Discussion Questions

  1. Do you care about what the Bible says about the Last Days? Why? Why not?
  1. Do you know any scoffers? Are they like what Peter describes in 2 Peter 3:1-3?
  1. Are you a scoffer?
  1. Do you know people who are skeptical about God as Creator? (3:4-7)
  1. Are you skeptical about God as Creator?
  1. What do you think about God’s delaying the end of all things? (3:8-10) Is it worth the wait?
  1. Do you understand the sequence of End Times events?
  1. Do you understand the distinction between the Rapture and the Second Coming?
  1. What perspective do you have in life, does it have the salvation of the Lord in sight?
  1. What do you think about the Seven Spiritual Safety Steps for the End Times? Have you and are you taking them?
  1. Have you taken the oath of God’s army? If so what kind of soldier are you?
  1. If you take that oath how do you think it would or should affect you as a Christian? Spouse? Parent? Child? Employer? Employee?

[2]J. Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible commentary [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1981 by J. Vernon McGee.

 

[4]Strong, J. (1997, c1996). The new Strong's dictionary of Hebrew and Greek words (electronic ed.) (G390). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[6]Strong, J. (1997, c1996). The new Strong's dictionary of Hebrew and Greek words (electronic ed.) (G2150). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

 

[8]Strong, J. (1997, c1996). The new Strong's dictionary of Hebrew and Greek words (electronic ed.) (G1097). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[10] Used in context of “do not understand” translated from the single Greek term Strong’s #50 -  ἀγνοέωagnŏĕō, ag-no-eh´-o – “not to know (through lack of information or intelligence); to ignore (through disinclination); (be) ignorant (-ly), not know, not understand, unknown. Which is negative of NOEO - Strong’s # 3539 - νοέωnŏĕō no-eh´-o; to exercise the mind, (observe), i.e. (fig.) to comprehend, heed; consider, perceive, think, understand.

[12]Vine, W., Unger, M. F., & White, W. (1997, c1996). Vine's complete expository dictionary of Old and New Testament words (electronic ed.). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[14]Strong, J. (1997, c1996). The new Strong's dictionary of Hebrew and Greek words (electronic ed.) (G2844). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[16]Walvoord, J. F., Zuck, R. B., & Dallas Theological Seminary. (1983-c1985). The Bible knowledge commentary : An exposition of the scriptures. Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

[18]Walvoord, J. F., Zuck, R. B., & Dallas Theological Seminary. (1983-c1985). The Bible knowledge commentary : An exposition of the scriptures. Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

[20]Swanson, J. 1997. Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains : Greek (New Testament) (electronic ed.). Logos Research Systems, Inc.: Oak Harbor

[22] Chuck Smith, Answers For Today (The Word For Today: Costa Mesa, CA, 1993) pages 178-181.

[24] Sometimes the phrase “Second Coming” is used as an umbrella term to refer to both the Rapture and the 2nd Coming at the end of the Tribulation.