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Last week Peter fired up his readers by reminding them of what they knew. It’s good to be reminded of what we know. Specifically Peter was reminding them of the O.T. holy prophets and the apostles of the N.T. – he’s talking about the Bible. This morning, Peter tells his readers why they need to know what the prophets and apostles have said and gives us a modern day warning.
2 Pet. 3:3-4 says, “Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts, and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation.”
First things first. He fired up his readers by reminding them of what they knew in the Bible. We should remind people of what the Bible says. It is our standard, it is our compass, but if we don’t look at it, or don’t refer to it, it can’t help us. That’s why I continually encourage and challenge you to get in the Word for yourself so you can be confident in who God is and what He has done and continues to do in your life. Peter sets it up by saying, “Know this first of all.” A better translation would be, “You understand or recall.” You go back in your mind and recall something you have known. He’s bringing back their current situation to what was spoken of by the holy prophets and apostles. Here’s the time identifier: “In the last days.” Throughout history people have tried to identify when the last days will arrive and there’s lots of confusion. The phrase “last days” is pretty common in Scripture appearing in the Old and New Testaments. Luke seemed to think the last days began when Christ was crucified, died, was buried, rose again, and ascended to heaven. Acts 2:17 reminds us, “‘And it shall be in the last days,’ God says, ‘That I will pour forth of My Spirit on all mankind; And your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, And your young men shall see visions, And your old men shall dream dreams.’”
So what’s going to happen in the last days? Peter says, “Mockers will come with their mocking.” Paul warned of the same thing Acts 20:29-30, “I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them.” Peter believed the last days had arrived because of the presence of false teachers in the church. Jesus also warned of this in Matt. 24:11, “Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many.” So our current events should come as no surprise to us. The troubling thing is that we’re seeing mocking from within the church walls. We’ve shifted from churches that equip people for ministry to churches that entertain. We’ve shifted from sanctified believers in the church to seekers and attenders. We’ve moved from churches with purpose to churches with programs. We’ve diverted from pure biblical doctrine to sentimental feelings. We’ve distorted the character of God. We’ve reduced the transforming power of the Gospel to simple profession. Mockers are here and they’re doing just as Jesus, Peter, and the others promised. They are, “following after their own lusts.” They had no moral restraint, no values, no sense of propriety. They did as they pleased regardless of the roadblocks that God put in front of them. As Children of God, we’re to follow Christ; His standards, His goals, His desires. God replaces our desires with His desires and because we love Him, we keep His commandments. We don’t redefine God’s standards. We don’t throw away His Word in favor of what we believe to be a more modern, relevant, situational or circumstantial type value system. Right is right and wrong is wrong and it’s been that way since the beginning.
It gets worse. Not only do they follow after their own lusts, but they’re saying, “Where is the promise of His coming?” You can hear skepticism and mocking in their tone. Each day that goes by without the Lord’s return brings more mocking. It happened back in Ezekiel’s day too: Ez. 12:22, “Son of man, what is this proverb you people have concerning the land of Israel, saying, ‘The days are long and every vision fails’?” How many people wrongly conclude that since judgment is not immediate that God must be okay with what’s going on in the world today? You probably won’t get many people to admit that it’s okay to live immorally or with a lifestyle that contradicts Scripture, but research indicates that’s exactly what people believe. A Barna study concluded last month discovered that the biblical absolute against same sex relationships have changed over the past 10 years. 70% of practicing Christians define marriage as a union of a man and a woman. 50 % of Catholics hold to the same definition. Why the shift? Even in the church, we’re sometimes unwilling to stand with God and because we don’t know the Word, we get duped. We have church leaders engaged in adulterous affairs, white collar crime, and all sorts of other ungodly behavior. Would it be different if God acted quickly? Eccl. 8:11 says, “Because the sentence against an evil deed is not executed quickly, therefore the hearts of the sons of men among them are given fully to do evil.” That’s why we stick the unchanging truth of God’s Word to determine our morality. The false teacher’s reasoning is that, “Ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning.” In other words, God created everything then took a hands off approach. Whatever happens, happens because God’s not involved in our lives. The false teachers reasoned that the judgment that was supposed to be coming never arrived, so they wrongly concluded that Jesus isn’t coming back. Jesus spoke of His return in John 14, Matt. 24, and Luke 12 just to name a few places. Paul spoke of Jesus’ return in 1 Cor. 15 and 1 Thes. 4. The triumphant conclusion comes in Rev. 1:7-8 that says, “Behold, He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him even those who pierced Him and all the tribes of earth will mourn over Him. So it is to be. I am the Alpha and Omega says the Lord God, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.” Jesus is coming back, but don’t wait until then to start living for Christ because by then, it is too late.
Ignore the people that proclaim a gospel that does not transform you. Ignore the people that say it doesn’t matter how you live. Ignore the people that deviate from biblical truth. Stand with purity, stand with morality, stand with biblical truth; stand with God.