The primary purpose of prophetic teaching seen here in 2 Peter 3, in the book of Revelation and many other places in Scripture (appx. 25-30% of Scripture is prophecy) is to prepare us to be ready to meet the Lord. It is not to satisfy our curiosity but to motivate us to change our lives now! Rather than working for things that will ultimately be destroyed, we should work for things that are eternal. "I was afraid I would lose your money, so I hid it in the earth."  The man seen here in Matthew 25:24-25 (see KJV) invested in "the earth" (temporal things) because he had a wrong view of Jesus. He wrongly responded to Him and tried to protect himself in this life (which is sin and unbelief) rather than trusting and obeying God as He reveals Himself in Scripture. As Elihu said to Job, "Behold God is great and we do not know Him." (Job 36:26) Every believer is accountable for knowing God rightly (as much as each man is able to know Him) and thus respond to Him rightly (in love and obedience) so we can have confidence and not shrink back in shame at the judgment seat of Christ. (1 John 2:28) "We have as our ambition whether at home or absent to be pleasing to Him, for we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body according to what he has done, whether good or bad." (2 Cor. 5 9-10)

"But the day of the Lord will come like a thief."  Peter's four arguments that we looked at last week affirm the certain return of the Lord and he also argues that this should inspire us to be sure we are ready as believers to meet the Lord. Remember that the day of the Lord is a day of judgment at the end of the tribulation and extending to the destruction of the present heavens and earth which Jesus speaks of in Matthew 24 along with the signs that will precede it's happening. As we see more signs for the day of the Lord (the visible and bodily return of the Lord Jesus Christ) we can know that the Rapture is more imminent. Be ready! Using John MacArthur's outline and adding my own points I see twelve points in verses 12-18 that should mark our lives as believers.

1)"You ought to live holy" – holy conversation/conduct/behavior;

2)…"and godly (devout and godly qualities) lives." {"Holy conduct refers to that which rules my behavior, and godliness refers to that which rules my heart. And so he is saying what kind of person ought you to be in heart and in behavior, in motive and in action, in attitude and in duty." J. MacArthur}

3) Live with expectation – "As you look forward to (watching for) the day of God."  As believers we should live in hope and expectation and be watchful for, not for a day of judgment, but for the day of God. Some commentators see the "the day of God" in v.12 and "the day of eternity" in v.18 referring to the eternal state, not the "day of Lord" the judgment of the unrepentant.  Scripture calls Jesus' return our "blessed hope" and our "living or lively hope" (Titus 2:13; 1 Peter 1:3). {"Peter says if you're longing for the new heaven and new earth, that glorious eternity, it ought to have an impact on your life now." J. MacArthur}

4) Prayerful longing and diligent labor for heaven "and speed (or "hastening"- which means to get busy) its (heaven) coming"-  We are told in Scripture to pray for the return of Jesus Christ to establish His righteous kingdom on this earth (See Rev. 22:20; Matt. 6:10) and to pray for,  as our Lord did, and become "laborers for the harvest" (Matt. 9:36-38).  First of all so that our Triune God will finally receive all the glory He is due and has never received from man in this sinful and fallen world; and secondly, so that all the redeemed will at last experience the deepest longings of our heart that the Lord Himself placed in us. "He has planted eternity in the human heart" (Eccl. 3:11; also see Psalm 73:25; Rom. 8:18-24). Even as we pray, "Come Lord Jesus" (Rev. 22:20) God is being patient waiting for our lost loved ones and "all who will" to repent.

5) "To be found spotless" – this refers to my character and integrity before the Lord. (Psalm 51:6)

6) .."and blameless" or " without blemish" – this refers to my reputation before men (Acts 6:3; 1 Tim. 3:7). God called Noah and Job blameless and Paul said he was blameless and that all believers should be blameless (Phil. 2:15). Yet Paul also said he "had not attained this or already been made perfect" (Phil. 3:12-14) but that he would "press on to that goal and prize"  (Phil. 3:12-14). Likewise we will never be perfectly spotless or blameless in this life but we are to continue to reach toward that goal through the power of the Holy Spirit until we die or He comes for us. So in light of Christ's return we say with John, "Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. "Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure"  (1 John 3:2-3).

7) "and at peace with him." – "in serene confidence, free from fears and agitating passions and moral conflicts"- Amp. Since this is written to believers, being at peace with God does not refer to salvation but "the peace of God that passes all understanding" (Phil 4:6-7); a strong trust in the Lord regardless of our circumstances. Peter's two epistles were written to believers who were experiencing severe persecution and suffering. And yet they had a peace and hope that caused others to ask how it could be in the midst of their suffering. "But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect."  {"It means having perfect peace that all is well between you and God, and that His purposes for you will unfold as revealed in the Scripture. That is the peace of assurance. That is the peace of security. That is the tranquility of a man or a woman who knows that all is well with God and fears no shame at the appearing of Christ. This, says Paul in Philippians 4, will guard your heart, it will guard your mind. If you think about the coming of Christ and the eternal state, the new heavens and the new earth and the glorious eternal plans that God has established for you, if you think about seeing Him face to face, if you think about the day when you will enter into the glories of His presence and dwell there forever, then you should be rejoicing with exhilaration and anticipation, loving His appearing, crying out, "Even so, come, Lord Jesus." You should have a fearless heart because you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that all is well." John MacArthur}

8) Evangelization – "Bear in mind that our Lord's patience means salvation." This is not a direct exhortation but is implied from v.9 and all the Scriptures that exhort us to do our part in evangelism (human responsibility) even though God is the only One who can save anyone (Divine Sovereignty/election). (Romans 10:9-15)

9) "be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of lawless men and fall from your secure position" (lose your assurance of salvation). Jesus and Paul (whose writings Peter refers to here as Scripture) both spoke about false Christs and false teachers as Peter does in his epistles. This refers to liberal theologians, cults, false religions, etc that we studied last week. There is really only one way to be on guard against the plethora of false teaching even in the church today and that is to study and meditate on God's Word:   16Every Scripture is God-breathed (given by His inspiration) and profitable for instruction, for reproof and conviction of sin, for correction of error and discipline in obedience, [and] for training in righteousness (in holy living, in conformity to God's will in thought, purpose, and action),  So that the man of God may be complete and proficient, well fitted and thoroughly equipped for every good work"   (2 Tim. 3:16-17). People who are trained to spot counterfeit bills thoroughly study the real ones.

10) "But grow in the grace.. of Jesus"  –the spiritual strength and enablement that comes from the Lord as  we grow in the realization of our weakness and inability to do His will in our own strength. (2 Cor. 12:7-10)

11) "grow in knowledge of (recognition and knowledge and understanding of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (the Messiah)" Amp. "Behold, God is great and we do not know Him" (Job 36:26). Jesus, Paul, Jeremiah (and many other Scriptures) say that knowing God (more and more intimately) is the greatest thing in life, it is what life is all about. (See John 17:3; Phil. 3:7-10; Jer. 9:23-24)

12) Live in adoration of Jesus – "To him be glory both now and forever! Amen."  When we see Him in all of His glory adoration will be our first and never-ending response but we are called to adore Him now even as Peter said in his first epistle: "But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him (or proclaim the excellencies of him) who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light." (1 Peter 2:9)


1) Which one of these twelve exhortations is the most challenging to you and why? After each one of you have shared your answer please pray for yourself and one other man for the exhortation he mentioned and the one you desire.

2) What is your main take away from the message and table discussion and how can you apply it to your life this week? 

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