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Lesson 12: Day of the Lord *

Introduction: Things have changed! Last night I mentioned to my class that some things have radically changed in the last 30-40 years. One is an attitude about smoking. I recall, decades ago, being in a hearing with several judges and lawyers. Not only was I alone in representing my clients, I was the only one who was not smoking. The air was blue with smoke. Peter tells us that in the last days people will say "everything goes on as it has since the beginning." Surely they cannot mean "everything." What ill-informed person says that? Let's dive into our study of the Bible and learn more about what the "no change" people are actually claiming!

  1. Your Apostles


    1. Read 2 Peter 3:1-2. Recall that Peter uses the prophecies of the Old Testament to prove that Jesus is God. What is Peter adding to this authority? ("Your apostles." Peter now states that the teachings of Jesus to the apostles forms another line of religious authority. Peter and the other apostles now stand on the same level as the Old Testament prophets - they are conveying the words of God.)


    2. Read 2 Peter 3:3. What is Peter writing here? (This certainly sounds like a prophecy about the end time. Can you see the transition Peter is making? He now gives us his own prophecy about the future - for which he claims authority as an apostle of Jesus.)


  2. Last Day Judgment


    1. Read 2 Peter 3:4-6. Are things the same as they have been since creation? (No. Peter says a flood intervened and changed everything. Peter argues against, not in favor of, those who say "nothing has changed." Peter, of course, is talking about large scale changes, not attitudes about smoking.)


      1. What does it mean to "deliberately forget?"


        1. Is that happening today? (I recently watched a documentary on the Genesis account and the fossil records. It seems scientists want to create every reason for the fossil record other than a world-wide flood. They deliberately forget the flood.)


        2. Why would scientists avoid the obvious - the well-known ancient history of a world-wide flood that could well have created the fossil record? (Because that account says that God created the flood to punish humans for their sinfulness. They don't want to acknowledge that aspect of the story.)


      2. What does the flood account teach us about sin? (That God has and will intervene in this world to counter sin.)


    2. Look again at 2 Peter 3:5. To what event is Peter referring here? (The Creation account!)


      1. Read 2 Peter 2:10-11. Do you recall that I suggested that slandering celestial beings included rejecting a literal six-day creation in place of an evolutionary theory covering millions of years? What is Peter saying about the Creation account? (He is saying that God spoke the earth into existance "out of water," and that God destroyed the earth "by these waters." Both events reflect the power and authority of God.)


    3. Do you know Christians who say that they believe the Bible, they just do not believe the Genesis account? Is it logical to claim to be a Christian and an evolutionist?


      1. Read Matthew 19:4-6 and 1 Corinthians 15:45-48. What do these two statements teach us about the Creation account? (Both Jesus and Paul not only believed and cited the Creation story, but they based their theology on it. We have Jesus, Paul and Peter who all believe the Creation account and they think it so reliable that they base theological arguments on the it.)


    4. Read 2 Peter 3:7. What gives us confidence that Jesus is coming again to impose judgment on the wicked and to destroy the present earth and heaven? (Peter tells us that confidence in the Creation account and the flood (2 Peter 3:5-6), give us confidence that by the word of God the wicked will be destroyed.)


  3. Delay


    1. Read 2 Peter 3:8-9. What reasons does Peter give for the delay in Jesus' Second Coming? (He is patiently waiting for us to come to repentance. He has a different sense of time.)


      1. Let's consider the "waiting for repentance" reason. What does this say about us and our ability to influence the timing of the Second Coming? (It suggests that we can influence its timing. If God is waiting on us, when we act He will act.)


    2. Read 2 Peter 3:10. When do thieves come? (They come when they hope you are not expecting them.)


      1. Is Peter is giving us a mixed message? He says God's timing is different, God will come unexpectedly, and we can influence the timing of the Second Coming since God is waiting on us. Is this just a jumble? Or, can you discern a clear message from it? (Assume that we are unpredictable about coming to repentance. If that is the case, then the message is not mixed. The message is that we do not know when Jesus will come again because we are unpredictable.)


  4. Readiness


    1. Read 2 Peter 3:11-12. Are you prepared for thieves at your home? (I am. The fact that the timing of the Second Coming is uncertain means we need to be prepared at all times.)


      1. How do we prepare for the Second Coming? Is Peter telling us that we need to "live holy and godly lives" in order to be saved? Is that the standard for judgment? (That is the method for speeding up the Second Coming! We are saved by grace and not by our works. But, we must also be smart. Obeying God brings a better life. Obeying God presents an example to the world of why choosing God is best. This witness speeds up the Second Coming.)


      2. What happens to the earth? (Everything burns and is destroyed.)


        1. What does this suggest about our preparation for the Second Coming? (We need to factor in that outside our investment in people, nothing we own is going to survive.)


    2. Read 2 Peter 3:13. What is the good news about our "stuff?" (We will have a new home. A new heaven and earth populated with righteous people.)


    3. Read 2 Peter 3:14-15. What is the world arguing when it makes its "no change" claim? (It is arguing there will always be no change. The "no change" means Jesus will never come.)


      1. What does Peter say that the delay means? (It means that we have a greater opportunity to be saved. Peter not only shows the "no change" argument is wrong, he says the delay is a benefit.)


    4. Peter refers to Paul as supporting him. Read Ephesians 2:3-5. What does Paul say about God's mercy? (Paul agrees that Jesus shows us mercy and wants to change us.)


      1. Look again at 2 Peter 3:14. Peter says "make every effort to be ... at peace [with God]." How does Paul explain this in Ephesians 2:3-5? (We were previously at war with God. We were "by nature objects of wrath." But, by grace Jesus saved us - so that we are at peace, not war with God.)


      2. Read Ephesians 2:8-10. Does this help us understand what Peter means by "make every effort?" (We are not making an effort (working) to be saved, for salvation is not through our works. Rather, we were "created in Christ Jesus to do good works." As you walk on the path of righteousness, your good works should increase.)


    5. Read 2 Peter 3:16. What do you think Peter has in mind when he writes that some "distort" the writings of Paul? (I suspect this has to do with the idea that since we are saved by grace, our works do not matter at all. Works don't earn our salvation, it is a gift from God. But, they have a great deal to do with our effectiveness in the conflict between good and evil. They have a great deal to do with living a more enjoyable life.)


    6. Read 2 Peter 3:17-18. What is the error of the lawless men? What can make us fall?(The belief that God does not have His hand on the affairs of humans. The idea that God is not the Creator and will not come again to judge. The idea that God is not active in the conflict between good and evil.)


    7. Friend, do not lose hope. Trust God in the small things of your life and in the big things in the world where God directs the future. Live a life that is important in the conflict between good and evil. Why not determine right now to trust and obey?


  5. Next week: Major Themes in 1 and 2 Peter.
* Copr. 2017, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard or some other visual aid.

© 2017 Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
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