II Peter 3:6-11

Sunday, August 28th, 2016

A REMINDER OF GOD’S WORD

INTRODUCTION:

 

In II Peter 1 we see that:

 

            1.   The Lord has called believers.

 

            2.   The Lord has implanted within believers a divine nature.

 

            3.   The Lord has given believers His power to enable them to live godly lives.

 

            4.   Believers should live God-honoring lives.

 

            5.   God has given believers His word in order to guide them in their lives.

 

In II Peter 2 we have seen that there are going to be false teachers. God’s purposes are going to be fulfilled regardless of what the false teachers do.

 

Although the false teachers will deny important doctrines in the last days, God’s purposes will be fulfilled. It is just a matter of time. Even the destruction of the universe will occur right on schedule. Since believers already know these things, they need to beware lest they fall. Instead they should be growing in grace and in the knowledge of Christ.

 

In II Peter 3:1-10 we see that there are going to be scoffers who will attempt to make a mockery of Christianity. So we will have to be prepared to deal not only with false teachers and their false teaching, we will also have to be prepared to deal with mockers.

We have already seen that –

    I.     PETER WROTE THIS EPISTLE TO REMIND HIS READERS OF THE WORDS OF THE OLD AND NEW TESTAMENT SCRIPTURES – 3:1-2

 

II Peter 3:1-2 – (1) This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance: (2) That ye 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 Saviour.

We have also already see that –

  II.     SCOFFERS WILL SEEK TO DISCREDIT CHRIST AND CHRISTIANITY – 3:3-4

 

II Peter 3:3-4 – (3) Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, (4) And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.

 

Those who are scoffing at Christianity think that they have found something by which they can disprove the truths of Christianity. They had heard that the Lord will return; but since He has not yet done so, they have concluded that this disproves the truth of the promise. Their minds are already made up about Christ; so, they most likely aren’t hoping to be confused by the facts.

 

What they say is, Where is the promise of his coming? This was said in order to mock it. Obviously, the Lord has not yet returned. They are mocking the truth of His promised return, and in effect are stating that He will not be returning in the future either. Inasmuch as the Lord promised that He would return, their mockery casts doubt on Christ’s truthfulness and credibility and, therefore, attempts to discredit His character as well.

 

The promise of his coming refers to Christ’s second coming rather than to the rapture.

 

Their reason for disbelieving the promise Christ has made regarding His coming is for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue (or remain) as they were from the beginning of the creation. This is a statement of what is known as the principle of uniformity upon which evolutionists base their thinking, and Peter is about to tell them that it is a false assumption based upon a willing ignorance of certain facts.

 

All things is all-inclusive; so, for Peter to refute their false assumption, all he has to do is show as little as one thing which has not continued (or remained) as it was from the beginning of the creation.

 

Peter will demonstrate in the next several verses that this is a false assumption. To use it to mock the promised return of Christ is foolishness.

We have already seen that the scoffers’ claim that all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation is refuted by the fact that –

 III.     GOD CREATED THE WORLD BY HIS WORD – 3:5A

 

II Peter 3:5 a – For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old . . . .

 

We have also already seen that the scoffers’ claim that all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation is refuted by the fact that –

 IV.     GOD GATHERED TOGETHER THE WATERS IN THE FORMATION OF THE SEAS – 3:5B

 

II Peter 3:5 b – (For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God) . . . the earth standing out of the water and in the water.

We move on to the scoffers’ claim that all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation is refuted by the fact that –

    I.     GOD BROUGHT THE FLOOD BY HIS WORD – 3:6

 

A big change occurred worldwide in the flood.

 

II Peter 3:6 Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished.

 

Whereby is by which or through which, where which is plural. It refers, therefore, either to the two waters of verse 5 or else to the water and the word.

 

The world that then was is literally the then world and means the world at that time.

 

Being overflowed with water indicates the reason that the world perished. It is because it was overflowed (i.e. flooded or inundated) with water.

 

Perished means was destroyed or passed away. However, inasmuch as the earth existed throughout the flood and, in fact, survived the flood, Peter does not mean the earth when he writes the world. He means the inhabitants of the earth with the obvious exception of those on the ark.

 

We also see that the scoffers’ claim that all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation will be refuted by the fact that –

  II.     GOD WILL PRESERVE THE HEAVENS AND THE EARTH FOR THE DESTRUCTION THAT HE WILL BRING – 3:7-10

 

We note that –

            A.  God, by His word, is reserving the heavens and the earth for the destruction that He will bring – 3:7

 

II Peter 3:7 But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.

 

A mild contrast between the destruction of the world through the flood and the preservation of the present heavens and earth unto judgment is indicated by but.

 

The heavens and the earth which are now is referring to the present heavens and earth.

 

By is by means of.

 

The same word refers to the word of God which brought about the creation in verse 5 and the flood in verse 6.

 

It is by means of the word of God that the present heavens and earth are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men. All things will not continue in the future as they are in the present because God is going to judge the world.

 

Are kept in store is are stored up or are treasured away and refers to the present heavens and earth.

 

They are also reserved unto fire where reserved is understood in the sense of kept, held, or preserved. Its present tense indicates that they are continuously being preserved unto fire by God’s word. Nothing will thwart Him. He will judge the world at exactly the time of His choosing. No one and nothing will destroy it before He judges it, and the time for judgment will not slip by unnoticed.

 

Unto fire suggests that God will use fire in the judgment of the earth when the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up (verse 10).

 

Against is unto.

 

The day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men is the day unto which God is preserving the heavens and earth by His word.

 

Judgment is judging, and perdition is destruction.

 

Ungodly is godless, and men is the generic term for human beings which includes females as well as males.

 

God’s reserving the world unto judgment will demonstrate the inaccuracy of the scoffers’ claim that Christ is not returning because all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.

 

We also note that –

            B.  God is not limited in time as men are – 3:8

 

II Peter 3:8 But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.

 

How does one explain the apparent delay in the Lord’s return? Certainly, Christ did not return in a short period of time following His ascension into heaven, and He has not returned now for nearly two thousand years. Time is not important, however, to an eternal God in the same way it is important to a human being whose life may span only seventy or eighty years. God will never run out of time. By contrast, we are all in the process of running out of time in this life. The end of our lives is drawing closer day after day.

 

But introduces a mild contrast.

 

Beloved is dear ones or loved ones and suggests dear friends. It is an affectionate way for Peter to address his readers.

 

Be not ignorant of this one thing is a command and is let this thing not be hidden from you, let this thing not escape your notice, or this thing must not escape your notice.

 

What should not escape their notice is that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years and a thousand years as one day. God can take as much or as little time as He wishes to accomplish something. He has all of eternity, and He is in no hurry because he is in no danger of ever running out of time. I have already said that by contrast, human beings are all running out of time. With each passing day, every human being’s remaining days are becoming fewer and fewer. When we were kids, we didn’t think about this; but now that we are older, it has become a reality.

 

Next, we note that –

            C.  God is delaying His judgment in order to give men adequate time to repent – 3:9

 

II Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.

 

The Lord is not slack concerning his promise means the Lord of the promise does not hesitate or delay.

 

Concerning his promise is to be understood with the Lord and may mean the Lord Who promises does not hesitate or delay. It may instead mean the Lord does not hesitate or delay (the fulfillment) of his promise, and it is apparent that our translators understood it in this latter sense.

 

As some men count slackness is as some regard slowness.

 

But is longsuffering to us-ward tells how the Lord is.

 

But introduces a statement in strong contrast to the Lord is not slack concerning His promise.

 

Is longsuffering means is patient or is forbearing.

 

To us-ward is toward us or unto us.

 

Not willing that any should perish is not wishing any to perish.

 

Willing is wishing or desiring because God does not force people to be saved against their wills. Furthermore, not all will be saved; but God is giving time for adequate opportunity for all to be saved.

 

Perish is the same term used in John 3:16 that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life.

 

But introduces another strong contrast. Peter has just stated what God does not wish, and now he is going to state what God does wish.

 

It is that all should come to repentance.

 

Repentance speaks of a change of mind and refers to salvation. He wants people to change their minds about sin and the direction they are headed. He wants them to receive Christ as Savior.

 

Paul wrote similarly in I Timothy 2:3-4 ,

 

I Timothy 2:3-43 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; 4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.

 

Finally, we note that –

            D.  Someday, in His own time, God will destroy the present heavens and earth – 3:10

 

II Peter 3:10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.

 

But suggests a mild contrast with what has preceded. At some time in the future God will no longer give people an opportunity to be saved; instead, He will bring judgment upon the earth.

 

The day of the Lord is an Old Testament concept which encompasses God’s dealings with man through the time of the tribulation and millennium. Sometimes it speaks of tribulation, sometimes of peace, sometimes, as it is in this verse, of cataclysmic judgment. The scene in this verse takes place at the conclusion of the millennium when God is going to destroy the present heavens and earth and replace them with new heavens and a new earth. This means that if the rapture were to occur today, this destruction of the heavens and the earth will not occur for at least 1,007 years; so, it’s not something which will occur in our lifetimes. This text does not suggest purification, renovation, or renewal of the present heavens and earth. They will be completely destroyed and replaced.

 

The tense and mood of will come indicate that this is something which will definitely happen in the future.

 

The day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night. It will be unexpected and will take men by surprise. A thief ordinarily comes when least expected and ordinarily under the cover of darkness when most people are asleep.

 

In the which is in which and refers to some time within the day of the Lord when the heavens shall pass away with a great noise.

 

Although the heavens can refer to the atmospheric heavens, it is best understood as referring to the stellar heavens which include the sun, the moon, and the stars.

 

Shall pass away is understood in the sense of shall come to an end or shall disappear.

 

With a great noise is a word used only in this verse in the New Testament. It suggests with a hissing or crackling sound or with a roaring sound.

 

And adds another thought.

 

The elements are elemental substances, the basic elements from which everything in the natural world is made, and of which the natural world is composed.

 

Shall melt means shall be loosed in the sense of shall be broken up into its component parts or shall be destroyed. It is translated dissolved in each of the next two verses.

 

With fervent heat is by being consumed by heat or by being burned up. It sounds very much like what happens in a nuclear reaction. The reader must bear in mind, however, that God is going to bring this event to pass. It is not some nuclear accident or holocaust brought about by man.

 

The earth also and the works that are therein is both the earth and the works in it.

 

The earth refers to the planet on which we live, and the works that are therein suggests the accomplishments of men on the earth.

 

Shall be burned up means that they will be consumed by fire. There will be a total destruction of the earth and its contents.

So far, we have seen that God brought the flood by his word – 3:6

 

We have also seen that God will preserve the heavens and the earth for the destruction that He will bring – 3:7-10

Finally, we see that –

 III.     BELIEVERS’ LIVES SHOULD BE CHARACTERIZED BY HOLY LIVING AND GODLINESS – 3:11

 

II Peter 3:11 Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness.

 

Verse 11 draws an inference from verse 10 regarding the behavior of believers as is indicated then, which is understood in the sense of consequently, accordingly, therefore, or so.

 

Seeing . . . that all these things shall be dissolved suggests because all these things shall be dissolved, since all these things shall be dissolved, or inasmuch as all these things shall be dissolved.

 

All these things refer to the heavens, the elements, the earth, and the accomplishments of men in verse 10.

 

Shall be dissolved is the same word translated melt in verse 10 and dissolved in verse 12. It is the heavens and earth and the elements which compose them which will be dissolved or which will melt. In verse 10 it is the elements that melt, and in verse 12 it is the heavens that will be dissolved.

 

What manner of persons is of what sort (of persons) or of what kind (of persons).

 

Ought ye to be is must you be or is it necessary that you be.

 

In all holy conversation and godliness limits the scope of Peter’s discussion.

 

Conversation is way of life, conduct, or behavior and refers to someone’s walk rather than to his talk. Of course, his talk is included in his walk; but his walk is not limited to his talk. All is not found in the Greek text but was supplied by the translators and speaks of every aspect of life.

 

Holy describes conversation and suggests something that is dedicated to God or reserved for God and shades over into the meaning of pure as is also suggested by and godliness. Believers ought to live holy and godly lives in this age because they know what is coming in God’s program for the ages.

CONCLUSION:

 

Let the mockers mock. Let them sneer at Christianity all they want. It will not make any difference. God’s word is good, and He will keep it.

 

Don’t forget that God will also keep His word regarding salvation.

 

John 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life.

 

Don’t forget that God will also keep His word regarding eternal hell.

 

Revelation of Jesus Christ 20:15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

 

If you will give me the opportunity, I would love to show you from the Bible how you can be certain that your name is written in the book of life.