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|Posted on November 16, 2016 at 2:10 PM||comments (0)|
Session 13 – 2 Peter 3:17-18 - WITH ANTICIPATION – Day 5
2 Peter 3:17 Therefore, dear friends, since you know this in advance, be on your guard, so that you are not led away by the error of lawless people and fall from your own stability.
Since we know the truth of Jesus’ return and the eventual judgement, we should be vigilant, alert, and steadfast in obeying the Lord and relying on Him. In this way, we will remain confident and less likely to be seduced and led into doubt by false teachers.
2 Peter 3:18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.
Grace – charis - …the divine influence upon the hearts, and its reflection in the life…(The New Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible)
We grow in grace through submission to Jesus and His Holy Spirit’s work within us. It cannot be found in intellectual knowledge of the Bible alone. We must know Christ intimately, a relationship in which Jesus is our closest confidant. We must go to His throne before we go to the phone for encouragement, comfort, and counsel. We must apply that knowledge by the grace of God to how we live our daily lives. This divine intimate, vibrant, personal influence will be evident to those around us by how we act and react in this world. Peter ends his letter by giving glory to the Lord Jesus Christ now and forever.
Question: Are we living a life that is glorifying to Jesus? Are we daily growing in the grace and knowledge of Jesus? Can you list some ways you personally need to grow in your relationship with Jesus? Give it some thought today.
|Posted on November 16, 2016 at 1:45 PM||comments (0)|
Session 13 – 2 Peter 3:8-13 - WITH ANTICIPATION – Day 3
2 Peter 3:8 Dear friends, don’t let this one thing escape you: With the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day.
Peter may have been alluding to the following verse:
Psalm 90:4 (HCSB) For in Your sight a thousand years are like yesterday that passes by, like a few hours of the night.
God sees the end from the beginning. We see time totally different from God. We are walking it out, living it, moment by moment, and to us, a painful moment can seem to last forever. We are limited by the concept of time: we see a beginning and an end. We do not see the future end as God does, nor do we understand that life here is but a breath compared to an eternity spent with God or in the case of the ungodly, without Him.
James 4:14 (NASB) Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.
The depth and breadth of eternity is endless, no beginning and no end. As human beings, we have a difficult time comprehending the concept of eternity. But for God, eternity is reality.
2 Peter 3:9 The Lord does not delay His promise, as some understand delay, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish but all to come to repentance.
God is not dragging His feet. He is not delaying judgment for the sake of the wicked but is waiting patiently until the time that all of His children are gathered into His family. All those who are His will come to repentance, but judgment is prepared and will be brought upon those who reject the only remedy to the condition of sin, trust in Jesus Christ. Do not see the delay as a negative thing. It is God giving more time for salvation.
2 Peter 3:10 But the Day of the Lord will come like a thief; on that day the heavens will pass away with a loud noise, the elements will burn and be dissolved, and the earth and the works on it will be disclosed.
The day of judgment, the end of our present earth, will be a complete surprise, especially to those who are unprepared. I would not want to be in that group, taken by total surprise and unprepared to face the Lord Jesus on His judgment seat. The picture Peter paints is of a huge crackling fire burning so hot that the elements, the atoms, neutrons, etc. that make up all matter will be completely consumed.
2 Peter 3:11 Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, it is clear what sort of people you should be in holy conduct and godliness 12 as you wait for and earnestly desire the coming of the day of God. The heavens will be on fire and be dissolved because of it, and the elements will melt with the heat.
We need to be living as if Jesus’ return could be tomorrow or today. We desire to be found being faithful to our calling and living Christ-like lives at that time. We need to live expectantly as if His coming is in the next few moments. We are to long for that day. Wait, wait, wait! We are to desire the cataclysmic event that will end our world?!
2 Peter 3:13 But based on His promise, we wait for the new heavens and a new earth, where righteousness will dwell.
I feel better. I finally have understanding of why I should be excited for this event. He is going to create us a brand new heaven and a brand new earth wherein there will be no sin! Righteousness and godly living will be all that is there. No more evil, no more temptation, no more tears. Therefore, peace will reign because Jesus is the King. I find it hard to wrap my mind around a perfect earth filled with perfected people, but I still want to be there! Absolutely, without a shadow of a doubt, that is the place I want to live, thrive, and flourish. I am ready for this to be my reality as it has been God’s all along, to see things from God’s perspective. We will bask, not in the light of the sun, but in the light of the SON!
Chew on This: For the unbeliever, the thought of the earth dissolving and a final judgment sounds terrifying. For the Christian, it is the beginning of eternity with our Lord on an earth cleansed from all evil. In light of this, we need to be sharing the gospel with everyone we meet and living each moment as if the Lord’s return is immediate.
|Posted on November 16, 2016 at 1:35 PM||comments (0)|
Session 13 – 2 Peter 3:3-7 - WITH ANTICIPATION – Day 2
2 Peter 3:3 First, be aware of this: Scoffers will come in the last days to scoff, living according to their own desires, 4 saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? Ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they have been since the beginning of creation.”
Scoffers taunt those who teach the second coming of Christ. They will not embrace the truth of a final judgment because they want to live in their lust, enjoying sexual promiscuity and carousing of all kinds, without threat of retribution. They pare down and try to make of no significance the second coming of the Lord Jesus.
They scorn the idea of Jesus’ return saying that nothing has changed since He left. The early church believed Christ’s return was imminent, so people were already impatient that it had not yet happened. Today’s scoffers, say that it has been 2000 years and nothing yet. They expressed the idea that no world-wide event such as is prophesied had ever happened before, so why would it now. They like to use the Bible like an a la carte menu, picking and choosing what they want to believe.
2 Peter 3:5 They willfully ignore this: Long ago the heavens and the earth were brought about from water and through water by the word of God. 6 Through these waters the world of that time perished when it was flooded.
Those who say there has never been an event on the level of destroying the earth have conveniently forgotten the miraculous beginning of our world being spoken into existence. That then the Lord parted the waters and created dry land, animals, man from NOTHING. Those who say He would not judge the entire world have forgotten the cataclysmic flood which only Noah, his family, and selected animals survived by the grace of God. God has exercised judgment in the past and will in the future.
2 Peter 3:7 But by the same word, the present heavens and earth are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.
The same Word, Jesus, who spoke the world into existence, sustains the earth until such time as God executes His final judgement on ungodly men. The all-consuming fire of God is suspended at this time because His time has not yet come. Thanks and praise be to God that those who believe and trust Him for their very lives will not experience this horrible end. By His grace, He is allowing us time to share the gospel with others that they, too, may be saved from judgment.
Challenge: The end of the world is nearer than it was in Peter’s day, and possibly much nearer than many would like to think. This should spur us to action to live godly lives as well as to share the gospel message with everyone we know. I challenge you to share your faith with at least two people this week. This can be through your personal testimony, presenting a tract, or even inviting the person to church.
|Posted on November 14, 2016 at 10:40 PM||comments (0)|
Psalm 106:40-48 (KJV)
Faithful To the Faithless
Psalm 106:40 Therefore was the wrath of the Lord kindled against his people, insomuch that he abhorred his own inheritance. 41 And he gave them into the hand of the heathen; and they that hated them ruled over them. 42 Their enemies also oppressed them, and they were brought into subjection under their hand.
Over and over, Israel would subject to another culture. In Judges, we read that they would be oppressed and would cry out to the Lord. He would send a judge such as Gideon, Sampson, or Deborah to deliver them. But shortly after that they would return to the state described as “every man did what was right in his own eyes.” (Judges 17:6 and 21:25 for example) In other words, instead of obeying God, they had an attitude of “If it feels good, do it.” Hmmmm. Sounds a bit like America today.
Psalm 106:43 Many times did he deliver them; but they provoked him with their counsel, and were brought low for their iniquity.
Finally, history and the Bible both tell us that God was fed up and allowed the Assyrians and Babylonians to conquer Israel and lead her inhabitants into captivity. However, even then He had the prophets foretell that captivity was for a limited, pre-determined amount of time, after which they would return to Israel.
Psalm 106:44 Nevertheless he regarded their affliction, when he heard their cry: 45 And he remembered for them his covenant, and repented according to the multitude of his mercies. 46 He made them also to be pitied of all those that carried them captives.
As their Father, God could not turn a deaf ear to the cries of His children. God caused the captors to have pity and compassion on their captives. When we read in the books of Daniel, Esther, and Nehemiah, we see that Israelites were even elevated to positions of authority while captive in foreign lands. The covenant God made with Abraham was solely dependent on God’s ability to keep it, not the ability of Abraham or his descendants. The disobedience of the people of Israel did not cancel that covenant in any way. In like manner, our covenant relationship with Jesus as our Savior and Lord is completely dependent on Jesus’ atonement on the cross and His ability to keep us in His care now that He is back at the right-hand of God the Father. We did nothing to earn it, and we can do nothing to lose it.
Psalm 106:47 Save us, O Lord our God, and gather us from among the heathen, to give thanks unto thy holy name, and to triumph in thy praise.
As we stated at the beginning of Psalm 106, this was probably written at the time that Israel was beginning to return and rebuild Jerusalem. The prayer is that the rest of the nation would be re-united with them and that they would be in right relationship with God.
Psalm 106:48 Blessed be the Lord God of Israel from everlasting to everlasting: and let all the people say, Amen. Praise ye the Lord.
After recounting all of their sins, the psalmist gives praise to the Lord who delivered them despite their unworthiness. There were consequences for their disobedience, but God remained merciful.
Challenge: Spend some time remembering your lowest points in your walk with the Lord. Thank Him again for His forgiveness and grace toward you personally. Praise Him for His faithfulness in the times you were faithless.
|Posted on November 14, 2016 at 10:30 PM||comments (0)|
Psalm 106:32-40 – Spiritual Adultery
Psalm 106:32 They angered him also at the waters of strife, so that it went ill with Moses for their sakes: 33 Because they provoked his spirit, so that he spake unadvisedly with his lips.
Once again the Israelites complained because they were without water, saying it would have been better if they had died and that Moses had led them out of a land of plenty (Egypt) to die in the wilderness. They had prayed for a deliver, and now they grumbled to the one God had provided. God instructed Moses to speak to a rock, and it would give them water. Moses was so angry with the people that he struck the rock with his staff instead of following the Lord’s instructions. Therefore, the Lord told Moses that he and Aaron would not be allowed to enter the promised land. Moses’ disobedience cost him life in the promised land. He gave into his anger rather than following God’s clear instructions. We may want to recall that the rock is often symbolic of Jesus. In John we learned that Jesus provides rivers of living water (John 7:38). The full account of Moses’ striking the rock can be found in Numbers chapter 20. I am beginning to understand why the Lord often called Israel a “stiff-necked people.” They stubbornly held on to rebellion and doubt rather than holding on to God and His promises. He was consistently faithful to them even when they were unfaithful to Him.
2 Timothy 2:13 (NASB) If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself.
Israel was consistently unfaithful to the Lord with brief times of repentance and obedience as the following summary shows.
John MacArthur Study Bible:
106:34–39 This section describes the general sins of Israel from the time they entered the Land (Josh. 3, 4) until they were exiled to Assyria (2 Kin. 17) and Babylon (2 Kin. 24, 25). They failed to expel the heathen and sadly conformed to their idolatry.
Psalm 106:34 They did not destroy the nations, concerning whom the Lord commanded them: 35 But were mingled among the heathen, and learned their works. 36 And they served their idols: which were a snare unto them.
God instructed His people to completely wipe out the pagan nations because He knew the influence they would have on the Israelites. They did not obey this command; and rather than converting the other nations to follow the one true God, they began worshipping the idols of the nations. God’s chosen people were self-destructing from disobedience within their own nation and within their own hearts. Sounds much like America today. We, as Christians in this nation, need to take heed to 2 Chronicles 7:14.
2 Chronicles 7:14 (KJV) If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.
Notice that this verse does not call on the heathen to repent but tasks God’s own people with the responsibility to return to Him and pray.
Psalm 106:37 Yea, they sacrificed their sons and their daughters unto devils, 38 And shed innocent blood, even the blood of their sons and of their daughters, whom they sacrificed unto the idols of Canaan: and the land was polluted with blood.
Human sacrifice was common in the religions of Canaan. Many of the Israelites, God’s chosen people, even sinned to the point of sacrificing their own children to idols! Instead of serving a loving, merciful God, they gave their devotion to idols who could do nothing for them. God used the prophet Jeremiah to remind them of the uselessness of worshipping idols.
Jeremiah 10:5 (NIV) Like a scarecrow in a cucumber field, their idols cannot speak; they must be carried because they cannot walk. Do not fear them; they can do no harm nor can they do any good.”
John MacArthur Study Bible:
106:36–38 idols…demons…idols. Demons impersonate idols and encourage idol worship (cf. Deut. 32:17; 2 Chr. 33:5–7; 1 Cor. 10:14–21; Rev. 9:20). The sacrifice of children was not uncommon (cf. Deut. 12:31; 2 Kin. 17:17; Ezek. 16:20, 21).
Psalm 106:39 Thus were they defiled with their own works, and went a whoring with their own inventions.
God is often compared to being a husband to Israel, and in the New Testament, believers are called the bride of Christ. The Israelites were unfaithful to God, committing spiritual adultery by worshipping idols. As we will see in the next section, God punished them for their sinfulness; but He never abandoned them completely. He always saves a remnant.
This is why Susan refers to what remains of her legs as “remnants.” She says, “Stumps are something you pull out of the ground and get rid of, but God saves the remnants!” I admire my roommate’s sense of humor!
Challenge: Christians in America are often guilty of spiritual adultery. Our idols are not stone or metal, they are money, sex, alcohol, drugs, and anything else that turns us away from dependence on God and glorifying His name. This week, pray for our nation. Examine your own heart and see if there are “wicked ways” you should turn away from. We need to humble ourselves before our Lord and pray for Him to heal the strife in our land.
|Posted on November 11, 2016 at 11:35 AM||comments (0)|
Psalm 106:24-31 (KJV) - Judgment at Kadesh-Barnea
John MacArthur Study Bible:
106:24–27 This portion recounts 1) the nation’s rejection of Joshua’s and Caleb’s positive report from the Land, and 2) their desire to return to Egypt (cf. Num. 14:1–4). God responded with judgment (Num. 14:11–38).
Psalm 106:24 Yea, they despised the pleasant land, they believed not his word: 25 But murmured in their tents, and hearkened not unto the voice of the Lord.
The nation of Israel discounted and ultimately rejected the affirmative report of Joshua and Caleb and believed the faithless, fearful report of the other ten spies. Here they were, on the verge of entering the promised land, having witnessed God’s miracles and provisions along their journey, and they doubted His ability to deliver a few gigantic people into their hands! It seemed they were more familiar with fear than they were with following God in faith. This, even though He had led them through the parting of the Red Sea, water from the rock, manna from Heaven, and quail in abundance. They did not understand that every exercise of God’s sovereignty was for their benefit. They did not have a vision of the priceless jewel He wanted to shape and polish them to be.
Psalm 106:26 Therefore he lifted up his hand against them, to overthrow them in the wilderness: 27 To overthrow their seed also among the nations, and to scatter them in the lands.
God declared that all those 20 years and older at that time, would die while wandering in the wilderness for 40 years. They would not enter into the promised land. The exceptions were Joshua and Caleb who had given a report based on faith that God would enable them to conquer the inhabitants of the land. Once again, we see the mercy of the Lord in not killing off the entire nation. Moses had interceded on their behalf this time as well as the other times they rebelled. Had you ever thought of Moses as an inspiration for intercessory prayer before? No, I had not; but his prayers must have been heartfelt and convincing to save the nation of Israel from the wrath of God. He demonstrated true servant leadership by interceding for people who falsely accused him of self-aggrandizement. Moses either had huge chutzpah to intercede in this way or had an amazing intimacy with the Lord that enabled him to feel free to approach a Holy God frankly and earnestly.
Psalm 106:28 They joined themselves also unto Baalpeor, and ate the sacrifices of the dead. 29 Thus they provoked him to anger with their inventions: and the plague brake in upon them.
They began worshipping Baal and even ate food sacrificed to him. They took wives from the pagan people as well. Once again the Lord sent judgment in the form of a plague killing 24,000 people.
Psalm 106:30 Then stood up Phinehas, and executed judgment: and so the plague was stayed. 31 And that was counted unto him for righteousness unto all generations for evermore.
Phinehas, the grandson of Aaron, was zealous for God and slew an Israelite man and his Midianitish woman with a javelin. This ended the plague, and God blessed him by continuing the priesthood through his line. You will find the entire account in Numbers 25.
Chew on This: Over and over, the Israelites witnessed the fact that their sovereign God must execute judgment in response to sin, yet they continued rebelling against Him. Do we do that in any way? Is there a sin, you need to confess, repent of, and ask the Lord to deliver you from? Take an honest look at your life. You cannot and should not judge other people, but you must judge yourself. (2 Corinthians 13:5, 1 Corinthians 11:27-32)
|Posted on November 9, 2016 at 9:05 PM||comments (0)|
Psalm 106:16-23 (KJV) – Rebellion, Judgment, and Mercy
Psalm 106:16 They envied Moses also in the camp, and Aaron the saint of the Lord. 17 The earth opened and swallowed up Dathan and covered the company of Abiram. 18 And a fire was kindled in their company; the flame burned up the wicked.
The incident referred to in verses 16-18 is recorded in Numbers chapter 16. Here are the basics of the account:
Korah, Dathan, and 250 men, community leaders of the Israelites were jealous of Moses and Aaron and accused them of setting themselves up as the aristocracy of the group and the rest as mere peasantry.
Moses instructed these Levites to prepare their censers with coal and incense to burn before the Lord at the tent of meeting. He and Aaron would be there as well. Dathan and some others refused to present themselves.
Numbers 16:19 When Korah had gathered all his followers in opposition to them at the entrance to the tent of meeting, the glory of the Lord appeared to the entire assembly. 20 The Lord said to Moses and Aaron, 21 “Separate yourselves from this assembly so I can put an end to them at once.”
Sounds like God was ready to extinguish everyone but Moses and Aaron! What happened? We know He didn’t destroy all His chosen people and start over with Moses and Aaron. Moses and Aaron fell facedown and interceded for the people.
God then told them to have everyone move away from the tents of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram. Moses told them the Lord was going to authenticate Moses and Aaron’s positions of leadership. After everyone moved away, the three men, their entire families, and all their possessions were swallowed alive by the earth! There would be no chance of future rebellion by their descendants.
In addition to this, the 250 men who had followed Korah in this rebellion were miraculously consumed by fire.
When the people grumbled that Moses and Aaron had killed the Lord’s people, God sent a plague among them. Moses took the only position of strength he could as a human being – he and Aaron fell face-down and prayed. Moses then instructed Aaron to run out among the people while burning incense in his censer to make an atonement offering for them. The plague stopped, but 14,700 people had already died from it. God is sovereign and has the right to judge those He created. His judgement was tempered with mercy because there were those who survived the plague.
Psalm 106:19 They made a calf in Horeb, and worshipped the molten image. 20 Thus they changed their glory into the similitude of an ox that eateth grass.
Do these people never learn? You would think after seeing the earth swallow people and fire consume others, they would have a little reverence for the Lord’s power! Plagues, parting seas, destroying trouble-makers…but the Israelites remained clueless!
According to the account in Exodus 32, Moses did not come back from meeting with the Lord on the mountain as soon as the people expected, so they asked Aaron to make them a god to worship. He melted down their gold jewelry and fashioned a calf. They worshipped it, feasted, and reveled in front of it with drunkenness and unholy intimacies.
When Moses came down, what did he make them do? He made them own up to their sin by melting the calf, grounding it into powder, adding water to it, and making them drink it. He also had the Levites that were on the Lord’s side kill several of them with the sword.
106:21 They forgat God their saviour, which had done great things in Egypt; 22 Wondrous works in the land of Ham, and terrible things by the Red sea. 23 Therefore he said that he would destroy them, had not Moses his chosen stood before him in the breach, to turn away his wrath, lest he should destroy them.
God said He would wipe out this people and start over with Moses, making a great nation of him; but Moses interceded by reminding God that He had a reputation to uphold of justice tempered with mercy which annihilating Abraham’s descendants would not project. The Egyptians might accuse God of leading His people out of captivity only to destroy them in the wilderness. The Lord told Moses He would punish the people who had actually sinned against Him. Once again, He sent a plague among them.
Chew on This: We may think the Israelites were pretty dense to keep on challenging Moses and, therefore, God, and to disobey the Lord so blatantly. However, are their times we know what God’s word says to do and deliberately do the opposite? Do we intercede for those we know who are in rebellion against the Lord as Moses did?