"What Manner Of Persons?"Monday, July 27, 2020
Peter asks his readers a crucial question in I Peter 3:11-12. “Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?” His question is one that has been asked multiple times since then. Since this world will be consumed by fire one day, then how should we act now?
Peter told the Christians in his first epistle to be “obedient children” and to “be holy in all manner of conversation” (I Pet. 1:14-15). These are two great characteristics that ought to describe Christians today! Our obedience to God and our being holy are two things that will not be burned up when this world burns!
Jude 21 adds that we ought to keep ourselves “in the love of God.” This is another characteristic that needs to be seen in us and something that cannot be taken away! It is interesting to note that Jesus connects our love for Him with our obedience (Jn. 14:15, 23-24, 15:14). So, as Peter teaches us to be obedient, Christ says our obedience is an outgrowth of our love for God. This is how we know it is genuine and not merely “rote” action!
What manner of persons ought we to be? How about being “stedfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord” (I Cor. 15:58)? Such a determination will keep our hands, and our minds occupied! I believe a lot of the fuming and fussing in the brotherhood can be linked to the fact that Christians are not staying busy in the Lord’s work! When we try to bring lost souls to the Lord as well as encourage the saved to remain strong, we will have a full plate! Let us be this kind of person and see how this work transcends the fires of II Peter 3:10!
I Peter 2:2, and II Peter 3:18 encourage us to grow! We need to be the kind of people who are not stagnant in our spiritual lives. We need to grow and to continue in this growth so long as the Lord gives us breath! Spiritual growth provides us with many challenges, regardless of how long we have been a Christian. Whether as “newborn babes” (I Pet. 2:2), or as mature people (Heb. 5:12-14), there is plenty to do and plenty of growth possible in the Lord’s kingdom!
Peter’s question in I Peter 3:11 is rhetorical, but when examined, it makes for a good reminder. Friend, are you a Christian (Acts 11:26; Mk. 16:16; Acts 2:38)? If you are, how is your spiritual growth? If you are a Christian, then you should have an appreciation for what is on the horizon (II Pet. 3:10). We don’t know a day or hour, but we can be prepared, and we can help others get ready! Look again at this short list. Are you prepared? Are you growing? If not, why not? Make the time to be prepared while you still can (II Cor. 6:2)!
- Jarrod M. Jacobs
“Destroyed Once By Water … Next, By Fire!”Sunday, July 26, 2020
In our last study, we read about Peter’s warning about “scoffers, walking after their own lust” who would come and question whether or not the Lord would return because “all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation” (II Pet. 3:3-4). We learned what the word “scoffer” means and looked at this word from a general sense. Let’s study II Peter 3 and see what the “scoffers” were mocking specifically.
Please read II Peter 3:4-10 and read Peter’s warning about men who were denying the teaching that the Lord will return one day (v. 4). They said that this world has never changed since the beginning. These scoffers were the original “uniformitarians”! They taught nothing had changed since the beginning of time, and so Jesus was not returning. Peter corrected this wrong by reminding the readers about the Flood (v. 5-6). He said these people were “willingly ignorant” of the events recorded in Genesis 6-9. In simple words, these people willingly ignored the plain words of Scripture. They ignored this because it didn’t fit with the “narrative” that they wanted to teach! Isn’t it tragic that when someone has a doctrine he wants to promote, he will willingly go to the point of ignoring Scriptures to keep it alive! This is what I call reading the Bible through a “filter”! Is this your practice? I pray not!
In the chapter, Peter reminds the readers of the destruction by water that had happened because there is a day coming when the world will be destroyed by fire (II Pet. 3:10)! He assured the readers that God had made a promise, and He would keep it (II Pet. 3:9). He doesn’t count time as men do, and so is not beholding to men to do things on their time-table!
Peter made it clear that just as this world was at one time overwhelmed in water (Gen. 7:19-23), so also one day, this world will be overwhelmed by fire! This is not merely a “purging” fire, like when a farmer burns off the chaff in his field. He said this is a fire wherein “the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up” (II Pet. 3:10). “Burned up” in this text means “to burn down to the ground, consume wholly or utterly” (Strong’s). In other words, after this event, there will be no earth left!
Are you ready for this fire? When we think of it from this perspective, it helps us prioritize our lives. Are you prepared for the Lord’s return and this world’s end? Is your soul ready? At the end of it all, there will be nothing left except our souls! Jesus asked, “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matt. 16:26). If you gain the world world, what good will your “stuff” do you when it is on fire?
How can I be confident that the Lord will destroy the earth one day by fire? It is because:
- God said so.
- He proved He would keep His promise by flooding the earth after He said He would.
Don’t waste any more time, but make sure you are ready for the Lord’s return, or your death, whichever comes first (Jas. 4:13)! Believe on Jesus as the Son of God (Jn. 8:24), repent of your sins (II Pet. 3:9), confess your faith in Christ (Rom. 10:10) and be baptized for the remission of sins that your soul might be prepared for eternity (Mk. 16:16; I Pet. 3:21)! Do so today (II Cor. 6:2)!
- Jarrod M. Jacobs
"Scoffers"Saturday, July 25, 2020
II Peter 3:3 warns about “scoffers, walking after their own lust” who would come and question whether or not the Lord would return because “all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation” (v. 4). What are “scoffers”? What is their work? Why was the Holy Spirit, through Peter, warning Christians about them?
According to Mr. Strong, the word “scoffer” means, “a derider, by implication a false teacher, mocker.” For further clarification, to “deride” someone is “to laugh at in scorn or contempt” (Dictionary.com). In the text, Peter warns of those who will laugh or mock at the idea of the Lord’s second coming. They don’t think it is real and scoff, make fun of, or mock those who speak the truth.
Let’s make this a little more general for our article. Have you ever had someone scoff at you (make fun of, mock) for merely speaking the truth of God’s word? How did that make you feel? One way the devil works is to scoff or make fun of us when we know we are right. This affects our senses and causes us to either question our beliefs or simply be scared to express them. Through scoffing, people can be made to stop speaking the truth. This was the intention of scoffers in the first century, and it is the intention of scoffers today.
When I speak the truth from God’s word (I Pet. 4:11; II Tim. 4:2), and people call me a “Pharisee,” “legalist,” “literalist,” and the like, this is scoffing. When they say that I am “too narrow,” or am too bold, this is scoffing as well. It should be apparent that scoffing occurs when people curse and say wicked things to insult me. Please note that when people do such things and call names, make fun of, sneer, and the like, they have done NOTHING to prove their point! This is a lesson I had to learn quickly in preaching. Having added my work on the internet, and coming in contact with “internet trolls,” the scoffing has reached new levels! In almost 30 years of preaching, though, I have come to terms with the fact that just because someone screams at you or knows how to make cutting remarks does not mean he has the truth on his side! It is usually the opposite.
Being mocked and ridiculed does not feel good, but for those who respect God’s authority (Col. 3:17), speak His truth (II Tim. 4:2), and are determined to live it (I Tim. 4:12, 16; Phil. 4:9; I Cor. 15:58), this is a way of life! The darkness hates the light and hates those who are in the light (Jn. 3:19-21). Why should I be surprised at these people’s actions when I speak the truth that brings light to the world (Ps. 119:105)? Scoffers were there to unjustly criticize my Lord (Jn. 7:7). Why should I expect different treatment (Jn. 15:18-20; II Tim. 3:12)?
Let these words encourage the hurt, and those who have been unjustly criticized, to keep on keeping on. “Preach the Word” (II Tim. 4:2)! Stand “strong in the Lord and in the power of His might” (Eph. 6:10)! Stand firm on the Lord’s word and do not waver! Scoffers will come and go, but “the word of the Lord endureth for ever” (I Pet. 1:25). We can make it! We can be faithful to God (Rev. 2:10), and look forward to God’s reward when this life is over (II Tim. 4:6-8)!
- Jarrod M. Jacobs
"The Apostles' Commands"Friday, July 24, 2020
I can remember not long after I started in my first “full-time” work, I encountered a few brethren who took the position that the “red letters” in the Bible were more important than the “black letters.” In other words, we ought to give greater emphasis to the words Christ spoke on earth than to anything else in the New Testament. To them, the epistles, etc., were of lesser value than Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Perhaps you have heard of people who have taken such a position. Until that time, I had not heard of such a belief. This may seem to have a noble aspect because people wish to place greater emphasis on Christ’s words, but the noble intention has many glaring errors.
First of all, it is a strange position to hold because red-letter Bibles were not published until 1901! What about the people from the 1800s and back to the second century? Were they unable to determine the “important words” because their Bibles weren’t typed with red letters? Second, if the words of Christ (in red letters) have a greater impact than what the apostles said, what about the fact that Christ told them He was not able to tell them everything because they weren’t ready? He then promised the Holy Spirit to come and “guide” them into “all truth” (Jn. 16:12-13)? So, the apostles didn’t have all the truth when Christ was on earth, speaking in “red letters”! They did get all of it later (Acts 2:1-5; Gal. 1:12; etc.), yet somehow their words are not as important as what Christ said? This is a strange doctrine, indeed.
Not only is it a strange doctrine, but it also contradicts passages like II Peter 3:2. Peter told his readers that he wanted them to “be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the prophets, and of the commandment of us, the apostles of the Lord and Savior.” He would also later condemn people for twisting Paul’s words and put Paul’s words on an equal plain with “the other Scriptures,” i.e., the Old Testament Scriptures (II Pet. 3:16). This sounds nothing like what I was told about the importance of the “red letters”! Based on the truth Peter taught, let me ask a few questions.
- Jesus said the words He spoke were the words given to Him by the Father (Jn. 12:49-50). Do we now discount the words of Christ as “lesser” than the Father’s?
- The job of the apostles was to speak the words of Christ to the world (Matt. 28:19; Mk. 16:15; Jn. 14:26). When they did so, how were these words of lesser importance than Christ’s? They were Christ’s!
- Since the words of the apostles are equated with the words of the prophets of God (II Pet. 3:2), how can we say they are of lesser value or lesser importance than Christ’s?
- Please supply book, chapter, and verse where Jesus (while on earth) gave us: instructions on how to worship, instructions on the organization of the church, instructions on the work of the church, instructions on matters of faith vs. matters of opinion, insight into the conflict between the Jews and the Gentiles and how to be at peace, the meaning of His cross, etc. (Maybe I am seeing some people’s motivation for dismissing the “black-letters”! When we dismiss them, we dismiss all of these things as well!)
- Since Deity is actually behind the entire Bible (II Tim. 3:16-17; II Pet. 1:20-21), shouldn’t the whole Bible be “red-letter”?
Personally, I find the “red letter” Bibles distracting. I mainly preach out of Bibles that have only black letters. Friends, let us not ignore the words of the apostles, but realize that since these men were Christ’s ambassadors (II Cor. 5:20; Eph. 6:20), their words are as authoritative as Christ’s when it comes to doctrine and truth! Peter said we need to be listening to the commands of the apostles, and so let’s do that and be blessed (II Pet. 3:2)!
- Jarrod M. Jacobs
"Pure Minds"Thursday, July 23, 2020
Peter’s motivation to keep the saved saved is apparent in this book. He determined to remind them of the present truth so long as he lived in order to protect them from the false teachers (ch. 1-2). As chapter three begins, Peter repeats his theme. In this case, he said he wanted to “stir up (their) pure minds by way of remembrance” (II Pet. 3:1).
The word “pure” in this text means what we think it means -- “unmixed, unsullied, sincere” (Arndt and Gingrich; Strong’s). Having a “pure mind” stands in contrast with the false teachers whose minds were wicked, and had “exercised” themselves to act in a covetous manner (II Pet. 2:14). The pure minds of the people needed to be preserved and the only way to do this was to make sure their minds were focused on God’s word (II Pet. 3:1-2). These people had not been stained or sullied by the false doctrines referred to in chapter two, and Peter was trying hard to keep it that way!
It gives me pause to read that these folks had pure minds because they, like all of us, have sinned (Rom. 3:23). Their minds had been corrupted with sin and wickedness. How could they have pure minds, now? If I know how these people who lived in sin developed pure minds, then I will know how I can develop a pure mind! The answer is that though they had acted in wicked ways, things changed when they heard the truth, believed in Christ, repented of their sins, confessed Christ, and were baptized (Acts 2:36-38, 8:35-38, 16:30-34). Having followed the Lord’s plan of salvation, and as they continued to learn the truth and be reminded of what they knew, Peter said they had “pure minds.”
How can we who have sinned keep our minds pure now, i.e., unmixed with error and sin? We now know the answer. In order to have pure minds, we need to cleanse them (Ps. 119:9), and keep them pure! We need to follow the Lord’s plan of salvation (Jn. 8:24; Lk. 13:3; Rom. 10:10; Mk. 16:16). As saved people, we must also keep our noses in the Book (Eph. 3:4; II Tim. 2:15; II Pet. 3:2)! Only when we know what God has said can we then apply it to our lives to make the right decisions. To keep our minds pure, we need to avoid those doctrines and practices that will corrupt us (I Thess. 5:21-22)! How will we know what corrupts, though, if we don’t remember the truth (Jn. 17:17)?
How much time do you spend in God’s word? How do you expect to have a pure mind otherwise? Peter said there was no other way to be pure except to spend time learning and especially being reminded of the truth that we know (II Pet. 3:1-2)! Let’s make sure and listen to the story the never grows old and apply it to our lives daily so we can have pure minds!
- Jarrod M. Jacobs