"THE SECOND EPISTLE OF PETER"
When People Scoff About The Lord's Return (2 Pe 3:1-9)
1. A wonderful promise that serves to motivate Christians toward godly
living is that concerning our Lord's return...
a. A promise made first by Jesus Himself - Jn 14:1-3
b. A promise made at His ascension into heaven - Ac 1:9-11
c. A promise not far from the lips of devoted disciples...
1) "O Lord, come!" - 1 Co 16:22
2) "Even so, come, Lord Jesus!" - Re 22:20
2. But it is also a promise that some delight to scoff (i.e., to mock,
deride, reproach, ridicule) - cf. 2 Pe 3:3-4
3. As we patiently await the coming of the Lord, what can we do when
faced by those who ridicule the hope that we have?
4. Peter addresses this concern in 2 Pe 3:1-9, and will serve as the
basis for this lesson entitled:
"When People Scoff About The Lord's Return"
[The key element to dealing with such scoffers can be summarized in one
This becomes evident as we find Peter stressing that we should
I. REMEMBER THAT SCOFFERS ARE TO BE EXPECTED (Vs 1-4)
A. ONCE AGAIN, WE SEE THE VALUE OF BEING REMINDED...
1. Earlier in this epistle, Peter stressed his desire to remind
them - 2 Pe 1:12-15
2. Now, he does it again - 2 Pe 3:1-2
3. In both passages, his desire is to "stir up" their pure minds
- 2 Pe 1:13; 2 Pe 3:1
B. WE ARE TO BE ESPECIALLY MINDFUL OF...
1. The words spoken before by the holy prophets
a. Peter may have reference to New Testament prophets
b. But he might also be referring to Old Testament prophets,
to whom we were told to give heed earlier in this epistle
- 2 Pe 1:19
2. The commandment of the apostles of the Lord and Savior
a. As the Lord's "ambassadors" (cf. 2 Co 5:20 ), the apostles
speak for the Lord Himself - cf. 1 Co 14:37
b. Therefore, we need to "continue steadfastly in the
apostles' doctrine" - Ac 2:42
C. IF WE ARE MINDFUL OF THEIR WORDS, SCOFFERS WILL NOT BE
1. We will know that they will come "in the last days" - 2 Pe 3:3a
a. A reference to the age of the Messiah
b. Which began with His first coming, and will be culminated
at His second coming - cf. Ac 2:16-17; 1 Co 10:11; He 1:1-2
c. Thus we can expect scoffers at any time during the
2. We will know the motivation behind their scoffing... - 2 Pe 3:3b
a. For they will be "walking according to their own lusts"
b. Knowing that coming of the Lord is designed to judge the
ungodly, they "scoff" as a way to soothe their guilty
3. We will know the major argument they are likely to use - 2 Pe 3:4
a. Their argument will be: "all things continue as they
b. An argument akin to the doctrine of "uniformitarianism"
[Knowing that scoffers will come, and what their charges will be, we
can prepare for it but only if we remember what the holy prophets and
apostles have said.
For example, the apostle Peter would have us...]
II. REMEMBER THAT GOD'S WORD IS CONSISTENT (Vs 5-7)
A. THE SCOFFERS FORGET ABOUT THE FLOOD...
1. In arguing that "all things continue as they were from the
beginning", they overlook the fact such was not the case with
the flood - 2 Pe 3:5-6
2. Peter says they "willfully" forget...
a. They purposefully choose not to remember an event that
proves their argument wrong
b. Of course, their desire is not to determine truth, but to
justify their lifestyle
c. Many people today resort to the same tactics...
1) Conveniently ignoring evidence that would weaken their
2) Ridiculing the opposition, rather than dealing with it
fairly and seriously
B. BUT THE FLOOD IS EVIDENCE OF THE CERTAINTY OF GOD'S WORD...
1. By God's word, the world was once destroyed by "water" - 2 Pe 2:5-6
2. By the same word (God's word), the universe is "kept in store"
(treasured up, reserved) for "fire" - 2 Pe 2:7
3. The same word that promised the flood now promises the Lord's
second coming, followed by the earth's fiery destruction
4. Since God kept His first promise to destroy the world, we can
expect Him to keep His present promise as well!
["But," the scoffer might say, "it has been so long since the promise
was made!" Indeed, for us today it has been nearly two thousand years
since the promise of the Lord's return and the world's destruction was
But as Peter continues, we should...]
III. REMEMBER THAT GOD IS NOT AFFECTED BY TIME (v 8)
A. UNLIKE MAN, GOD IS NOT A CREATURE OF TIME...
1. "with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand
years as one day."
2. This is not a passage revealing some sort of key to
a. Such as, "a day in prophecy equals a thousand years in
b. For if so, then why could not one just as easily say "a
thousand years in prophecy equals a day in fulfillment"?
c. Indeed, such efforts are a clear "twisting" (cf. 2 Pe 3:16 )
of this passage
3. The point is simply that time is irrelevant to God
B. SO WHILE IT MAY HAVE BEEN TWO THOUSAND YEARS...
1. To God, that is no different than two days! - cf. Ps 90:4
2. Another two thousand years could pass, and God's Word would
not be weakened at all...
a. It was two thousands years before God fulfilled His promise
to Abraham ("in you all the families of the earth shall be
blessed" - Gen 12:3 )
b. It was at least four thousand years before He fulfilled His
promise to the serpent ("And I will put enmity...between
your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you
shall bruise His heel." - Gen 3:15)
3. Since God kept His promise about the first coming of Christ,
we can expect Him to fulfill the promise of His Son's return!
4. As for the "times and seasons", that should not be our concern
- cf. Ac 1:7
[Finally, we will not be moved by the scoffers' arguments about the
delay of the Lord's return if we...]
IV. REMEMBER THAT GOD IS LONGSUFFERING, NOT SLACK (v 9)
A. SOME MIGHT THINK THE LORD IS SLACK CONCERNING HIS PROMISE...
1. It has been nearly two thousand years since the promise was made
2. And while man might consider that slackness, there is
another reason for the delay
B. THE LORD IS LONGSUFFERING, NOT WILLING THAT ANY PERISH...
1. While God is a just God, He is also a merciful and loving God
2. While His justice requires "judgment and perdition of ungodly
men", His love and mercy is willing to give them time to
3. This explains the Lord's delay in returning: He has given every
generation that has lived during the last two thousand years
time to repent!
4. Thus He has "suffered long", hoping that people will repent...
a. Such goodness is designed to encourage people to repent -
cf. Ro 2:4
b. But for those who despise His longsuffering...
1) They are "treasuring up...wrath in the day of wrath" -
cf. Ro 2:5-6
2) Just as the Lord has "treasured up" the heavens and
earth for fire at the day of judgment - cf. 2 Pe 2:7
1. Peter will have more to say about "the day of the Lord" and what
will occur when He comes again, in the next section (2 Pe 3:10-13)
2. But that we might not lose heart, nor be discouraged by the scoffers
who will ridicule the idea of the Lord's return, Peter has left
these words by which we can "stir up your pure minds by way of
reminder" - 2 Pe 3:1
3. Has the thought of the Lord's return and the day of judgment stirred
a. Remember that the Lord wants you to be saved...
1) He sent His Son to die for your sins
2) He has delayed the sending of His Son a second time, to give
you time to repent
b. Remember, though, that in His justice things are being "treasured
1) The heavens and earth are "kept in store" (treasured up) for
the day of judgment
2) Those who despise God's longsuffering are "treasuring up" for
themselves "wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the
righteous judgment of God" - cf. Ro 2:5
c. How much better, then...
1) To receive the "riches of His grace" in obedience to the
gospel of His grace
2) Instead of receiving the "treasures of His wrath" to be given
at the day of judgment!
As Peter said on the Day of Pentecost, "Be saved from this perverse
generation." (Ac 2:40) The context reveals how one might be saved
- cf. (Ac 2:36-41). Peter, using the "Keys to the Kingdom" taught
them how to enter that kingdom. Is there a lesson here for us today?
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