Handfuls on Purpose
by James Smith, 1943
This Epistle the Apostle Peter wrote for an altogether different purpose to First Peter. The latter was intended for encouragement to Believers passing through severe trials and bitter persecutions. On the other hand, Second Peter was written to warn the Lord's people of the presence and propaganda of false teachers and of their corrupt and corrupting doctrines. First Peter was written to console; Second Peter to warn.
A GLORIOUS EQUALITY. 2 Peter 1:1-2
Introduction. As Dr. Jowett pondered over these first two verses, there leapt into his mind the watchwords of the French Revolution, "Liberty, Equality, Fraternity." Certainly these three words sum up admirably the truths here.
"A Bondman." Paul (Romans 1:1; Philippians 1:1; Titus 1:1); James (James 1:1); Peter (2 Peter 1:1); Jude (Jude 1).
1. How strangely that sounds! "Simon Peter a bondman!"
2. Knowing what slavery meant then, this is indeed strange.
3. Read on: "a bondman. . . of Jesus Christ."
Where Does the Liberty Come In? Ponder over the following quotations:
1. "At the heart of all true freedom there is a certain bondage."
2. "Even anarchist societies are compelled to have some rules; and the making of a rule implies the forging of a chain."
3. "Bondage is the secret of freedom."
4. "The man who will not be bound to anything or anybody, is always the most enslaved."
5. "The greatest triumph of the Gospel is the fact that it leads men from lives of undisciplined freedom into lives of willing bond-service."
6. "Consecration is the entering into a deeper bondage."
a. A slave, but not servile. No cringing.
b. The slavery of a lover—a lover slaves for loved ones.
c. Recognition of his rightful ownership.
d. The meaning of this in the life can only be discovered as we go on in the Christian way.
Who are They who are Equal?
1. "To them... with us," "like"
2. We are not superior to you. We are on a Gospel equality.
1. Spiritual privileges.
2. There are many inequalities in temporal things.
3. In "Student in Arms," Donald Hankey, in chapter entitled, "An Experiment in Democracy,"writes: "Equality of opportunity had been granted, and the inequality of man had been demonstrated."
"Like Precious Faith."
1. "Equally precious faith" is R.
2. Not that all had an equal amount of faith.
3. But their faith was alike though differing in robustness, as brothers can resemble each other, though differing in health and other things.
1. By it we enter into possession of righteousness.
2. Because of the wealth which, through it, comes into the life.
3. "Door of faith." A door is of little value in itself, but if it opens into a palace it is of value.
1. "Obtained by lot,." that is, a good gift from God.
2. Greek word implies that they had not won or earned it for themselves, but that it had been allotted to them.
Through the Righteousness of God.
1. This is a great surprise.
2. This is a so-called Pauline word, yet Peter utters it.
3. Instead of "through," read "in."
4. Does the word here mean what it means in Romans? Luther and others think so.
5. Certainly in bestowing righteousness God is no respecter of persons.
"Equity" is the Moffatt rendering, instead of "righteousness." "In the absolute justice and favor of God you have obtained an equally precious faith with us," is another rendering.
How Obtained? You obtain this blessing of faith through faith, yet owing to the righteousness of God.
1. Listen to the wishes of Peter and other sacred writers for one another: "Grace and peace be multiplied."
2. It is encouraging and cheering to receive the well-wishes of others.
THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE LORD THE ONLY SOURCE OF BLESSING. 2 Peter 1:2, 3
1. In the first Epistle we hear much about suffering; in this second Epistle much about knowledge.
2. Peter knew His Lord so well, therefore speaks much of the necessity and result of knowledge.
1. Very early in the Primitive days there arose those who laid claim to exclusive knowledge, calling themselves gnostics, that is, knowing ones.
2. The same tendency to arrogate to ourselves superior wisdom always exists.
3. In this Epistle we are shown the true knowledge.
1. Instead of "through," read "in"—that is, sphere.
2. The knowledge of God is the sphere in which all spiritual blessings come to us.
1. "In the personal knowledge " (R.).
2. Not an intellectual knowledge merely, but spiritual and evangelical to the individual.
"Full" (2 Peter 3:18). It must be a growing knowledge.
1. "Full knowledge" is literal rendering.
2. Shallow knowledge makes superficial Christians,
3. How can my knowledge grow?
1st. By coming to Him.
2nd. By living with Him.
3rd. By communing with Him.
4th. By silence before Him. "Be still and know."
5th. By His Word.
"Of God and Jesus." What a wonderful union!
A Dread Possibility. Be barren and unfruitful in the knowledge of the Lord (1:8).
Through Growing Knowledge we have:
I. Grace and Peace (2).
1. Grace first, peace next. God's favor, then the effects of that favor.
2. You possess these, but they can be multiplied.
3. Others in the New Testament only express the wish, but do not point out the path to that experience.
4. How? Through a growing knowledge of Him.
II. Every Requisite for Life and Piety (3).
1. "All things needful" (W.); "necessary" (20th C); "suited" (R.).
2. "Has." Already in our possession.
3. "All" things.
4. Called us to "glory and excellence." "By" (20th C.) or "through" (R.).
5. "It is impossible to live a holy life," say some. Nay; do not say that. Do you wish to know how? Get to know Him.
III. Purity (2 Peter 2:20).
1. There are awful pollutions in the world to be sure.
2. Is it possible to escape from them every day and all the day? Yes.
3. How? By partaking of the Divine Nature through regeneration.
Application. How can I secure this knowledge, and how may it be deepened?
1. Coming (Matthew 11:27, 28).
2. Communing. The more we talk with people, the deeper our knowledge of them.
3. Word. Learn God's heart in God's Word.
4. Stillness. Be still and know (Psalm 46:10).
"SHARERS IN THE VERY NATURE OF GOD." 2 Peter 1:4
Bold. These are indeed bold words. They are staggering. This was the fondest dream of the Ancients. They thought it a possibility only for Emperors and such exalted personages. But now "You," the common crowd, the ordinary folk! Only an original phrase for an old truth. Just another way of speaking of regeneration.
Sharers. Note the W. rendering. "Become sharers in the very nature of God."
Ministry of Wealth. Connect verse 3 with verse 4. This wealth brings blessing. The ministry of this wealth is to effect—
a. A Deliverance—from corruption. A wonderful escape.
b. A Glorious Adoption into the Family of God.
1. Is (W.) for "lust."
2. Thus lust means more than animal appetite; it means an earthly ambition.
1. Note how he piles up the adjectives.
a. Size=great. Exceeding great.
3. Isaac Watts lay dying. He observed, in conversation with a friend, that he remembered an aged minister who used to say that the most learned and knowing Christians, when they came to die, have only the same plain promise of the Gospel for their support as the common and unlearned. "And so," he said, "I find it. It is the plain promises that do not require much labor and pains to understand them, for I can do nothing now but look unto my Bible for some promise to support me, and live upon that."
Peter, now that he was old, emphasized the value of the promises of God.
Oh, it is blessed, if the promises become more precious to us the older we become!
Profound and Original Conception. What a profound and original conception is this: Vital participation in His own sacred and glorious nature!
I. The Negative Aspect.
1. No Exclusiveness in God.
a. In all human society there is an unhappy tendency to exclusiveness and self-absorption.
b. It has been said that "the end of human law is to prevent the dispersion of the benefits which certain groups of men have made their own."
c. The end of Divine Law is to diffuse the wealth of God, even to the being and life of God.
2. No Divine Nature in Man.
a. What do you mean by saying "there is the Divine in all men?" Are you referring to God's image, or God's Life?
b. Oh, the need of care just now.
c. His image remains in us, though marred (1 Corinthians 11:7). But not an atom of His Life. We are dead, lifeless, so far as the Life of God is concerned.
3. No Absorption in God.
a. Partaking does not mean absorption.
b. This is the dream of extravagant mysticism.
c. Absorption, as a drop of water which goes back into the ocean and is lost? That can never be.
d. For there will always be "I" and "Thou"—two separate and distinct personalities.
4. No Sharing in Essential Attributes.
a. Shareholders, not of the essence of God so as to be deified.
b. Shareholders, not of the essential, but the moral attributes of God.
c. Shareholders, but not as Christ. In Him dwelt the fullness of the Godhead bodily.
5. No Absolute, but a Growing Participation. This participation is a growing thing. Therefore not absolute.
II. The Positive Aspect. We become sharers in the Divine Nature by becoming—
1. Partakers of the Promises (1:4, with Ephesians 3:6). Thus we have the ministry of the Word in regeneration (1 Peter 1:23). How? By becoming—
2. Partakers of Christ (Hebrews 3:14).
a. "Companion" (literally) of Christ.
b. Shareholders (literal) in Christ.
3. By Partaking of Bread (1 Corinthians 10:7).
a. That is, by taking Christ, who is the Bread of Life.
b. This is an act of faith.
4. By Partaking of Holy Spirit (Hebrews 6:4).
a. What a wonderful phrase!
b. Surely when the Holy Spirit enters, we become partakers of the Holy Spirit.
III. The Blessed Results.
1. As to Character. Partakers of His holiness (Hebrews 12:10).
2. As to Living. Partakers of His sufferings (1 Peter 4:13).
3. As to Consolation. Partakers of His comfort (2 Corinthians 1:7).
4. As to Service. Partakers of His hope (1 Corinthians 9:10).
SPIRITUAL SHORTSIGHTEDNESS or, Spiritual Advancement in Grace and Holiness. 2 Peter 1:5-9
"For this very Reason,"
1. Is the M. rendering in place of, "and beside this."
2. This connects our past meditation with this.
3. We are sharers in the very Life of God, therefore we must press on to possess more.
1. Peter was a man of action.
2. This is just like Peter to insist on need of diligence.
3. This is a demand for business vigilance in the realm of the spirit.
4. Original meaning of the word is haste. It is employed to describe the eager swiftness with which the Virgin went to Elizabeth after the angel's salutation and annunciation.
1. Peter desires to excite and engage them to advance in grace and holiness.
2. One has said: "Diligence is the panacea for all diseases of the Christian life. Where there is faith all that is needful in order to possess any other grace is diligence."
3. Is this correct?
1. There are limitations in the mastering and possessing of things natural. Example: Musical Attainment, Language, Are.
2. But there is no kind of moral worth which is beyond the attainment of believing diligence.
1. Word translated "add," in its primary significance alluded to the Choric Dances, where, with hands joined together, the performers kept up a measured movement to the sound of music.
2. Hand linked in hand, let all the graces advance together, faith giving one hand to courage, courage giving the other hand to knowledge, knowledge holding with free hand to temperance, etc., etc.
3. That is the significance of the R.V.: "In your faith." These are not detachable graces, but faith is the root from which virtue and all other graces grow.
1. It is not one grace which makes a Christian.
2. These graces will not come without an effort, nor remain without culture.
Let us note separately these graces:
1. Faith leads the van or chorus. Indeed is the root.
2. No number of excellencies make a Christian unless they be excellencies added to faith.
3. Faith is the foundation grace; but a foundation is of little use if no structure follows.
1. What virtue is meant here? "A noble character" is rendering in (W.). "Resolution" (M.).
2. Courage or fortitude is meant, or manliness—the holy courage which enables men to quit themselves as men.
3. "Brave," without "bluster"—fearless without ferocity.
1. Intelligence (M.).
2. General and particular knowledge, of science, and particularly that of the Bible and of Divine things.
IV. Temperance. "Self-control" (W.). A proper and limited use of all enjoyments.
V. Patience. "Power of endurance" (W.). "Steadfastness" (M.).
VI. Godliness. "Piety" (M.).
VII. Brotherly Kindness. "Affection" (W.).
Application. Not to do so means:
1. Spiritual myopia, a word the oculist uses for physical short-sightedness.
2. If a man has these things he has sight.
3. Cannot look back far enough ("Has forgotten") and cannot look forward as he ought.
SPIRITUAL CERTAINTY. 2 Peter 1:10, 11
1. Here we have this businesslike word again.
2. 2 Peter 1:5; 3:14.
1. He speaks in verse 5 of the need of diligence in acquiring spiritual graces.
2. He who lacks such things suffers from spiritual shortsightedness.
3. Do not let that be so, "but give diligence to make your calling and election sure.
Blessedness of Certainty.
1. Life is full of uncertainty so far as natural things are.
2. The certainty respecting spiritual things is possible and desirable.
I. Spiritual Uncertainty is One Fruit of Spiritual Immaturity.
"Spare no Effort.
1. To put God's call and choice beyond all doubt" (20th C).
2. "Spare no effort": (a) In prayer. (b) In study. (c) In converse with elder Christians.
Peter had No Doubt.
1. Peter thus wrote, not because he entertained any doubt concerning them. See Peter 1:2.
2. While he entertained no doubt, probably they were the prey of doubts.
"Calling and Election."
1. That was how they referred to salvation.
2. This expresses the Divine side of our salvation.
3. Giving diligence to make sure and certain.
4. None can look into the Book of God's Eternal Counsels and Decrees. Yet we have something to do.
5. "Though God has called and elected us in Christ, yet it depends on our own care to make them effectual to salvation" (An Old Bishop).
1. On Predestination (Romans 8:29, 30; Ephesians 1:5, 11).
2. On Election. Israel, God's elect people (Isaiah 45:4). He has an elect today (Romans 8:33; Colossians 3:12; 1 Peter 1:2; Romans 9:11; Romans 11:5; 1 Thessalonians 1:4).
How to Make Sure.
1. By examination of our own lives. Are we manifesting the graces of the Spirit.
2. By seeking the witness of the Spirit.
II. Spiritual Certainty Produces Blessed Results.
1. Stability in Grace. "You shall never stumble" (R.V). "Never make a slip" (M.).
a. Life is full of slippery places.
b. Growth in grace means strength to our spiritual ankle bones.
2. Stability in Purpose. "You shall never falter" (F.F.).
a. No ruinous hesitancy.
b. Many a battle has been lost by hesitation.
c. To know definitely the mind of God is grand.
3. A Triumphant Entrance into Glory. "A triumphant admission" (20th C). No crawling through the Gate of Heaven. We shall go sweeping through the Gate.
4. Freedom from Shame when Before Him. "Fully equipped" (F.F.).
a. In a grand review, how ashamed an ill-equipped soldier would be.
b. Anything lacking in the uniform would merit censure. What about the Grand Review at the Reward Seat of Christ?
TWO REASONS FOR MINISTERIAL URGENCY. 2 Peter 1:12-15
1. Peter has been urging his hearers to diligence.
2. What about himself? I, too, will not be negligent.
3. I will not neglect my duty.
1. Peter had a duty to perform—he had been appointed a remembrancer for the Lord.
2. This is the office of all faithful pastors.
3. Note: (1) "Always." (2) "Of these things." (3) Though they knew them. (4) And were established in them. ("Fixed in the truth"). And it was "meet."
4. We need to be put in mind of what we already know to prevent our forgetting it, to improve our knowledge, and reduce all to practice.
Reasons for Ministerial Urgency:
I. A Common Proneness to forgetfulness.
1. Common Malady (see 2 Peter 1:9).
a. Forgetfulness is a common malady. More prevalent today than in olden times.
b. "Memory is such a child of caprice," even in purely secular matters.
c. It plays us curious pranks.
d. "We remember people's faces but forget their names; we remember a single injury, and forget a multitude of gracious benefits."
e. It is more pronounced in things spiritual.
f. We find it easier to remember material than spiritual things.
g. Note: Israel in the past. "Then they forgot the Lord their God."
2. Need of Remembrancers.
a. We feel our need of aids to memory in things material and commercial.
b. Humorous are some of the stratagems. (Tying a piece of thread or ribbon on our fingers).
c. God has his methods of reminding us, as: (i.) The ministry of the Word (2 Peter 3:1) or, (ii.) The Sacrament of the Lord's Supper. "A piece of broken bread recalls the broken body of the Lord;" and also (iii.) The ministry of His servants. Note.
1. A minister's duty is to remind us of truths we already know as well as to bring to our notice new truth.
2. And to do this even to fully established souls.
3. Memory is admitted not to be as good today (owing to mind helps), as in Old Testament days, when the memory had more work to do. Therefore the need of being reminded today is greater than in past.
II. The Brevity of the Worker's Life (14).
1. Note the force of Wycliffe's rendering: "Knowing that swift is the putting off of my tabernacle," that is, my death will be swift and sudden.
2. Body likened to a tent. "Little tent" (F ,F.).
3. This was a popular metaphor.
4. Stands for:
a. A frail, fragile structure.
b. A moveable structure.
c. The home of a tenant.
d. Easily removed—"Exodus."
e. Must be put off.
1. Man forgetting God (Deuteronomy 32:18; Isaiah 17:10; Jeremiah 2:32; 3:21; 13:25; Hosea 8:14).
2. God never forgetting man (Isaiah 49:15).
THE TRUTH OF OUR CHRISTIAN FAITH. 2 Peter 1:15-21
"Always in Remembrance."
1. Peter's diligence that they should keep all these things "Always in Remembrance."
2. But are they worthy of an effort to remember?
3. There bursts upon his memory the scene on Mount of Transfiguration.
4. Indeed it must have been often on his mind, for he frequently speaks of his own departure by the very word which the heavenly visitors had used of Christ's departure on the holy mount—Exodus.
1. Yes, they are worthy of all belief.
2. They are not "cunningly devised fables," like other religious beliefs.
3. We made known the—
a. Power of our Lord Jesus.
b. Presence (R.) (R.V.) of our Lord Jesus.
c. Not Second Advent, but Incarnation.
Peter and Paul. One has said: "It is interesting to compare the Epistles of Peter with those of Paul. Peter's Epistles tell of grace—Christ on this earth; Paul's of glory— Christ in the Heavenlies. Peter saw the Transfiguration on the earth; Paul was caught up to the Heavens and saw the God of Glory. Peter tells of the things he saw here; Paul of the revelation and of the word unspeakable.'"
I. The Truth of Christianity Demonstrated.
1. The Testimony of Personal Experience (16).
a. "Eye-witnesses of His Majesty."
b. Such evidence in favor of Christianity has a vast cumulative value for us.
c. Put first by Peter. Please do not forget your own experience.
d. "What took the kick out of my life?" asked a friend of another.
2. The Testimony of the Divine (17).
a. Personal experience is not sufficient.
b. What an experience that must have been. "When there came such a voice." There was the testimony from above. Here was the testimony of the Divine.
3. The Oral Testimony (16).
a. 99% of our knowledge comes by hearsay. "When we made known."
b. The testimony of others is of value.
4. The Testimony of Scripture (19-21).
a. "More Permanent."
(i.) Read the forcible (W.) rendering to 19. "And in the written Word of prophecy we have something more permanent."
(ii.) "And thus we have gained fresh confirmation of the prophetic Word" (M.).
b. "More Sure." Made more sure because we have received the confirmation of all that the prophets spoke dimly of.
II. Confidence in Scripture Justified.
1. Its Origin (20, 21).
a. From Heaven, "when carried away by the Holy Spirit" (M.).
b. Private Interpretation.
(i.) Not the product of the prophet,
(ii.) Not the prophet's own interpretation of the vision presented to his mind.
c. Definition of Inspiration.
(iii.) All Scripture agrees with Scripture.
(iv.) No Pope or body of men are to limit or dictate what the interpretation of the Scripture is.
(v.) Can only be understood in the Spirit (Read 20th C).
2. Its Design. A Lamp.
b. Squalid places—exposing the squalor of its time.
3. Its Aim.
a. It shines like a guiding lamp. A fuller light of day dawns upon the soul, as the believer, led by the prophetic Word, realizes the personal knowledge of the Lord.
b. Progress of Revelation—lamp or star.
c. The Day.
(i.) Of Christ's fuller revelation to the soul,
(ii.) Of Christ's Second Advent.
d. Does this mean that we have less use of the Scriptures when living near to God? No.
4. Its Interpretation (20.).
a. "No prophecy of the Scripture is of any private interpretation," that is, "Its own interpretation." That is, each separate Scripture to be understood clearly must be compared with other Scriptures.
b. Ponder over the 20th C. rendering of this verse: "First be clear on this point—There is no prophetic teaching in Scripture that can be interpreted by man's unaided reason." Thus we require the light of the Holy Spirit.
APOSTASY. 2 Peter 2
I. False Teachers and their Destiny.
1. Character of Chapter.
a. "This is a dark and appalling chapter.
b. There is no softening of the shade from end to end."
c. It is a chapter of unrelieved gloom.
2. Only Another Similar.
a. Only one other portion of Scripture like it—Book of Nahum.
b. Nineveh was an apostate people. So that Nahum's message was to apostates.
3. Awfulness of Apostasy.
a. Apostasy is worse than ignorance.
b. Only thing God can do with apostates is to destroy them.
c. "Light that is trifled with becomes lightning."
4. Good and Bad.
a. In previous lesson we read of good prophets.
b. Now we learn of the bad prophets.
5. Accomplished Fact.
a. Peter says "shall be"—a prophecy.
b. Jude says "are"—an accomplished fact.
6. Crowning Sin and Proof of Apostasy.
a. "Denying the Lord that bought them."
b. This is the mark by which to test and reject the false teacher.
c. That which lowers Him and His redeeming work must be false.
d. The force of this—Peter denied His Lord three times.
e. This is "a shorthand expression for all sorts of sin."
f. How we may deny:
(i.) By speech.
(ii.) By life—an ungodly life (iii.) By doctrinal views.
II. Swift and Certain Punishment upon Past Apostasy. Proved by that of
1. Angels (4).
2. The whole world (5).
3. Cities of the plain (6).
III. God's Power and Willingness to Keep Us if we Desire to be Kept (5-7 to 9).
1. Noah lived and preached righteousness (5).
2. Lot lived righteously and never got reconciled to unrighteousness (8).
3. "The Lord knows"—no one else does (9).
IV. Description of Apostasy.
1. Cunning—privily (1).
2. Chief Sin and Mark (1).
3. End (1,3, 12, 13).
4. Success—"many" (2).
5. Immorality—lascivious (2, 10, 14, 18).
6. Treacherous and Deceitful (3).
7. Presumptuous (10, 11).
8. Beastly (12).
9. Mercenary (15, 16).
10. Empty (17).
11. Sad Commentary (20, 21, and 22).
12. Undeterred by Miraculous Effort to Guide Aright (16).
13. Popularity (18).
THE LEISURELINESS OF GOD. 2 Peter 3:1-9
It may be well to remind ourselves of the difference between the First and Second Epistle. First Epistle written to strengthen those who were passing through trial; the Second to warn of terrible dangers; the First concerned with dangers without, the Second concerned with dangers within. The dangers within are more perilous than those without.
1. Good and Bad Prophets.
a. We have noticed Peter's reference to the good and bad prophets.
b. He returns to this subject. In effect he says: "I don't want you to be forgetful of what those good prophets said" (2).
2. Writings of Apostles and of Old Prophets (2).
a. Note the force of verse 2.
b. Peter, without any hesitation, places his own writings and the writings of the other Apostles on a level with Old Testament writings.
c By R.V. Peter claims Divine origin for his and their writings.
3. Optimist and Last Days (3).
a. This optimistic and energetic writer has much to say concerning the last days, and that the last days would be sad days.
b. (i.) "Scoffers"—"mockers" (R.V.).
(ii). W. suggests that mocking had become a habit, for they mocked at everything.
(iii.) These scoffers were bad living men.
(iv.) The sad fact today is that good living men scoff at Advent Truth.
(v.) Oh, the sadness!—making sport of the great Hope of the Church.
4. Why do they Mock? Their arguments amount to the following:
a. He is not coming because He has not yet come.
b. Nothing will happen out of the usual, because nothing unusual has ever happened.
5. Willfully Forgetful. They are forgetful deliberately and willfully:
a. Of the Deluge—things have not remained since the Creation unchanged.
b. The Deluge.
6. Singular Aptness. There is a singular aptness in the reference to the Deluge as a judgment on sin.
7. Water and Fire.
a. Note "stored with fire" (R.V., margin).
b. What water failed to accomplish fire will secure.
8. Why His Delay? His slowness—absence of hurry—leisureliness.
I. In Sphere of Nature.
1. How slow, and sure, and splendidly persistent God has been in fashioning the world.
2. God is patient because He is Eternal (Augustine).
3. There are 1000 years within His day.
4. The "Day of Salvation" has lasted 2000 years nearly.
II. In Sphere of Revelation.
1. There is one thing God has never done, and that is to be in a hurry to reveal Himself.
2. To have revealed everything all at once would have been:
a. Cruelty, and not kindness, for men would have been blinded by the glare.
b. Besides, it would have been worse than useless.
III. In the Sphere of Judgment.
1. Sometimes God is very swift in Judgment.
2. At other times inexorably slow.
IV. In the Sphere of Christian Living.
1. In the Revelation of His Will to Us.
a. Not all in a moment, but step by step does God reveal the pathway of our duty.
b. Paul wished to go southward to Galatia, and wished to turn northward to Bithynia. But the Lord directed otherwise.
2. In Answer to our Prayers. Not all at once does He answer.
3. In the Bestowal of Some of His Gifts (Galatians 4:4).
4. Lesson. Be patient.
HURRYING UP THE GLORIOUS TIME. 2 Peter 3:10-14
Introduction. Why does He tarry, the absent Lord? Oh, why? At Burial Service we pray that "You may shortly accomplish the number of Your elect." Here in our lesson we have one important thought.
1. Two Days (10 and 12).
a. In the verses we have two distinct days mentioned.
b. "The Day of the Lord" and "Day of God" are not the same.
c. The four days:
(i.) Man's Day (1 Corinthians 4:3, marg.) is the Day of Salvation.
(ii.) Christ's Day (2 Thessalonians 2:2) is the Day of Glorification.
(iii.) Lord's Day is the Day of Tribulation.
(iv.) God's Day is the Day of Realization.
2. Peter on Day of Lord.
a. He says it will come as a thief—silently, stealthily, unexpectedly, so far as the world is concerned.
b. "Heavens vanish with crackling roar" (M.).
c. "The stars will be set ablaze and melt" (M.).
d. "Works of man. . . shall be burned up" (W.).
3. Peter on Day of God.
a. The terrors in Heaven and earth usher in the Day of God, concluding the Day of the Lord (verse 12).
b. New heavens and new earth (13).
c. Righteousness in Heaven and earth.
I. Our Expectation.
1. "Looking for." "Unto you that look for Him" (Hebrews 9:28).
2. "Expecting" (R.)—that is what "looking for" means. We look not merely out of curiosity, but with great expectancy.
3. What expectations have you?
II. Our Preparation
1. Hurrying up the grand Day of God.
2. Accelerating it by our repentance, prayers, and effort.
3. How we May Hasten.
a. By Holy Living (W, verse 11). "All holy living."
b. By Godly Conduct (W., verse 11). "And godly conduct).
c. By Holy Conversation (R.V.). Take care of your speech.
d. By Eagerly Looking (W., verse 12). "Eagerly looking forward."
e. By a Godly Aim (M.). "You who expect and hasten the advent of the Day of God." Note (1) Diligence—we shall never be holy without diligence. (2) "Found of Him" (14).
III. Our Becoming Attitude (14).
1. All this is becoming of those looking for the Lord's Coming.
2. Are you looking forward for His Coming? What effect has that hope had upon you?
GROWTH. 2 Peter 3:15-18
1. How differently Peter ends Second Peter to First Peter, and how differently it ends to other Epistles.
2. He is dwelling upon a solemn subject, and is so full of the subject that he ends abruptly.
3. Meaning of His longsuffering: (1) Not slackness. (2) "Means salvation"—in His longsuffering He has purposes of salvation.
4. "Faithful are the wounds of a friend." "Our beloved brother Paul," though he had withstood him to his face" (Galatians 2:11). "Beloved brother Paul."
5. "If any lack wisdom," etc. "Wisdom given unto him."
6. Wisdom from above required for letter writing. "Has written unto you."
7. Brain sweat (16). "Hard to understand."
8. Paul's writings placed on a level with other Scriptures (16).
9. Sad misuses of Scripture (16).
10. "You. . . know. . . Beware" (17). Let him that thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.
11. "Beloved." (1) Not like Jews "For the Father's sake," but for Jesus' sake.
Unusual. You would never think of telling a child to grow any more than you would tell a plant to grow. But Peter does tell Christian men and women to grow. Why? Because they are not plants, but men and women with wills, which can resist, and can either further or hinder their progress.
I. An Environment Essential to Growth.
1. Significance of "The" in the R.V. and other versions.
2. No growth out of grace and personal knowledge.
3. You cannot "grow" into grace.
4. Here are conditions for growth.
II. The Nature of that Growth.
1. "Grace" Grace stands for one of three things.
a. "Favor" (Luke 2:52, R.).
a. Increase your acquaintance with Him.
b. In the possibilities of His Saviorhood (fully saved).
c. In the possibilities of His Lordship.
d. In His Jesus (Joshua) nature—Leadership.
e. In His Christhood—the Anointing—One who anoints.
III. The Necessity for Growth.
1. Growth is necessary for steadfastness.
2. No standing still in Christian life.
3. Each going on or getting off.
4. "Be always."