2 PET 3:17,18
INTRO: The little letter we can 2nd Peter is only three short chapters in length. Each of those chapters is full of apostolic concern for Christians living in the real world. The specific "real world concern" so evident in the letter is a concern for steadfastness in a world of religious error! All sorts of people representing themselves to be teachers and preachers, attractive people who had once been faithful, were espousing doctrines damaging to the faith of others. That seems a bit strange to me in view of the time. Less than thirty years had lapsed since the crucifixion of Jesus. Apostles were still alive. But the apostle Paul had warned that even from elders would "men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them" (Acts 20:30). Understandably, then, Peter concludes with an impassioned "beloved, beware"!
I. THINGS THEY ALREADY KNEW
A. They knew...
1. that Peter's testimony was that of an eyewitness (1:16,17)
2. that there would be false teachers (2:1)
3. that the Lord would come again ... to judge the world (3:7)
4. that heaven was only for the righteous (3:13)
5. that holy living was the only way to heaven (3:14)
6. that even Paul has confirmed these things (3:15)
B. Knowing such things forewarned them
1. having knowledge is preparation for eventualities
2. they knowledge they already possessed was intellectual preparation
3. they knowledge you possess is intellectual preparation
4. the issue is will we use that knowledge when we come to the crossroads
5. will our response be one of desire or emotions in spite of our knowledge?
6. even people of knowledge need to have warnings!
A. Lest you be carried away
1. Gal 2:13 - Barnabas was "carried away" with the hypocrisy of others
2. when we are in the wrong company, it is too easy to be carried away
3. Peter knew this so well - see Jno 18:18,25-27
4. I can assure you of this - if you are in the company of committed, devoted Christian people who are know for moral and spiritual strength, it will be much more difficult to be carried away into things and places you should not!
B. The error of the wicked had led some away
1. notice the words "lest ye also"
2. this is something of great concern to me ... Christians I have known who have been led away into error
3. many of these are people whom I had taught & baptized - carried away
4. sadly, there will be others ... perhaps even some of you
C. The fall from steadfastness is a resounding "crash"
1. same Gr. word is used at Acts 27:26,29 & Gal 5:4
2. shipwrecked ... fallen from grace - could it be worse?
3. the only reason such a warning as this makes sense is the possibility of ones being lost who had once been saved
4. Peter is not describing some "slap on the wrist" issue here
III. THE KEY TO STEADFASTNESS? KEEP GROWING
A. Grow in grace
1. "grace" may well represent the faith and blessings in Christ
2. we must not neglect the faith or minimize our blessings in Christ
3. our growth would most assuredly be in the direction of deeper appreciation for all that God has done for us
B. Grow in knowledge of the Lord and Savior
1. if we stop growing here, we will not be growing in grace
2. we must continue searching the scriptures to become better acquainted with our Lord and what He wants us to be
3. and this knowledge must be used day by day ... if we don't use it, we will lose it!
CLOSE: Peter closes this letter with magnificent words about and for Christ ... words which undeniably accord to Jesus the reality Deity. I am reminded of the words of Rev 5:13.
Cecil A. Hutson
15 January 2006
You Must Hear the Gospel
You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)
You Must Believe
You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)
You Must Repent
You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)
You Must Confess
You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)
You Must Be Baptized
Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!
You Must Be Faithful Unto Death
Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)