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Ready

Today you finished 2 Peter – let’s go to Nahum next. It only has three chapters so you can finish the entire book in three days!


2 Peter 3

SCRIPTURE

2 Peter 3:14-16 “And so, dear friends, while you are waiting for these things to happen, make every effort to be found living peaceful lives that are pure and blameless in his sight. And remember, our Lord’s patience gives people time to be saved. This is what our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you with the wisdom God gave him—speaking of these things in all of his letters. Some of his comments are hard to understand, and those who are ignorant and unstable have twisted his letters to mean something quite different, just as they do with other parts of Scripture. And this will result in their destruction.” (NLT)

OBSERVATION

What are you waiting for?

Peter challenges us to remember the works and the word of God. He reminds us of the coming judgement of God. He recounts the creation of the world and God’s work to purify his creation. I don’t know how you feel about our world today. Some may say it’s worse than it’s ever been. You may look around and see how people refuse to believe, how they reject the faith, how they deny the truth. You see these things and think the times we live in are quite desperate. Then I read 2 Peter 3. Within Peter’s lifetime and only a few decades after the death and resurrection of Jesus the times were no different than they are now.

People will always doubt. They will always deny. They will alway scoff at the things of God.

God delays his punishment because of his kindness, because of his desire to give all people time to repent. Not all will – but it won’t because they didn’t have a chance. It will be because they rejected that chance.

Side note – In verses 14 – 16 Peter calls the letters of Paul, ‘Scripture’. That’s a bold statement. It shows the influence of Paul and demonstrates that the most significant leader of the early church believed the words of Paul to be inspired by God. This knowledge helps us better understand the context of Paul’s writings. They aren’t simply great devotional material. They are more than letters designed to encourage his converts in their faith. They are the Word of God, profitable for reproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness.

Back on track – What are you waiting for?

The time will come when the certain judgement of God will fall on all people. Will you be found faithful? Better question – who will be found faithful because of you? There is a coworker you’ve been waiting for just the right moment to share Christ with. You have a family member who needs to experience the love of God. That guy on your kids ball team you’ve just been introduced to – he could use a dose of grace. What are you waiting for?

Right now there’s time. Time to let the story unfold. Time to share the gospel well. Time to love all people to Christ. But someday the time for such things will end. The work will be done. Christ will come. The day will pass. The thousand years will be over and – ready, or not, – we will meet him face to face.

APPLICATION

Will you be ready? Who will be ready because of you?

PRAYER

Heavenly Father,

Thank you for your Word and your promises. Thank you for waiting to cast your judgement on me and the rest of the world. Thank you for your patient endurance as you lovingly lead me into repentance. Forgive my sin. Remove me from temptation. Allow me to make decisions today based on your grace. Give me your wisdom. Help me be ready – to share the gospel, to live by faith, to do things your way, to follow you. Allow me to help others be ready to do the same. Like Paul was an encouragement to Peter, may I encourage others to follow you. On the day you return, may others be ready because of me.

I love you, in Jesus name –
Chad

He Who Must Not be Named

John 1:1, “In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the word was God.”

In the wildly popular Harry Potter series Lord Voldemort is the name of the ultimate bad guy. He’s a vile and dark wizard who’s evil has ripped apart his own soul and devastated many lives. He’s so wicked that people fear even to speak his name. Throughout the series he’s referred to as, “He who must not be named,” or simply, “You know who”. It’s an interesting story telling device that adds excitement to the audience as they anticipate Harry’s inevitable face-to-face confrontation with his arch-nemesis.

The Jewish culture has a name they wouldn’t speak. It wasn’t the name of someone vile and wicked, but awesome and righteous. It was a name handed down to them from Moses, a word so important they considered it holy and unspeakable. It was the name YHWH (Yahweh).

Standing in front of the burning bush Moses is told by God to return to Egypt to tell Pharaoh, “Let my people go.” Moses asks, “Who should I tell them sent me.” God responds, “YHWH” – “I AM“. It became a word so holy that Jewish people wouldn’t speak or write it. They found other ways to express it. They would use other names for God or simply refer to “the word“. Just like, “You know who” clearly identifies the bad guy in the Potter series, “The word”, for any Jew was easily understood to identify the great I AM, Yahweh, God.

Understanding this makes reading John 1:1 even more interesting.

John’s gospel is different from Matthew, Mark, or Luke. John is not trying to lay out a biography of the life of Jesus. Instead, the sayings of Jesus highlighted by John are designed to convince you that Jesus is Messiah and Savior of the world. In Matthew, Mark and Luke the miracles of Jesus are used to demonstrate His power. Not in John. In John they are called signs – semeion in the greek – or distinguishing marks. The miracles reported by John are the signs, the distinguishing marks, that prove Jesus is Messiah, the Savior. John doesn’t simply want to tell you who Jesus is or what He did. He wants to convince you to believe Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.

So he begins with something every Jew would understand. “In the beginning was the word.” You know, the word. (wink, wink) The word we don’t speak or write. The word that in your head means God. The word YHWH, the one who is I AM. “In the beginning was the word and the word was with God and the word was God.”

John begins his gospel painting a picture. The Word we’re not supposed to speak or write, The Word made holy by the law, set apart from us, an impersonal reflection of the Most High God – this word has become flesh and now lives with us. That which once we couldn’t even speak we can now see, touch and experience. The Word, I AM, walks with us. Then in John 1:17 he reveals who this Word is, “For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.”

What do you believe about Jesus? Do you see him as a good teacher, an influential figure of history? Do you think of Him as an interesting idea of the past? What do your words and actions cause others to believe about Him? John makes the case. Jesus is more. He is not the impersonal word that can never be spoken. He is the great I AM, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. He is Messiah and Savior. He is not a distant, unspeakable idea but God in the flesh whose life, death and resurrection insured He could have an intimate relationship with His people.

Do you believe it and will your words and actions cause others to believe it today?

Mischief managed.