Monday, October 08, 2007


2Peter 3:15 Your Relationship With The Word.

15 Also, regard the patience of our Lord as [an opportunity for]salvation, just as our dear brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you. 16 He speaks about these things in all his letters, in which there are some matters that are hard to understand. The untaught and unstable twist them to their own destruction, as they also do with the rest of the Scriptures. 17 Therefore, dear friends, since you have been forewarned, be on your guard, so that you are not led away by the error of the immoral and fall from your own stability. 18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. • Amen.
There is an alarming lack of Bible knowledge. It’s almost comical. Here are some actual statements written by high school students in response to a Bible test:
1. Noah’s wife was Joan of Ark.
2. Moses went to the top of Mt. Cyanide to get the 10 Commandments.
3. The seventh commandment is, “Thou shalt not admit adultery.”
4. Joshua fought the battle of Geritol.
5. The followers of Jesus were called the 12 decibels.
6. David killed Galihad, who was one of the Finkelsteins.
7. A Christian should have only one wife. This is called monotony.
I want to share with you what I believe to be the Seven Wonders of the Word of God. In about 430 B.C., the Greek historian Herodotus was the first to write about “Seven Wonders of the World.” Pythagoras and other philosophers believed seven was a lucky number because it was a prime number, not too large or small. Over the next 500 years, the list of Seven Wonders changed, but most historians agree the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World were:
1. The great pyramid in Giza. It’s the oldest, and the only one of the seven wonders that can still be seen.
2. The Hanging Gardens of Babylon. This botanical miracle was in modern day Iraq. The gardens were built by Nebuchadnezzar to remind his wife, Amytis of her mountain home.
3. The Statue of Zeus at Olympia. This was a 40-foot-tall statue that overlooked Athens. Zeus held a smaller statue of Nike (Victory) in his right hand.
4. Temple of Artemis in Ephesus. Built by King Croesus in 550 B.C., this magnificent building had 127 solid marble columns around the perimeter. "I have seen the walls and Hanging Gardens of ancient Babylon," wrote Philon of Byzantium, "the statue of Olympian Zeus, the Colossus of Rhodes, the mighty work of the high Pyramids and the tomb of Mausolus. But when I saw the temple at Ephesus rising to the clouds, all these other wonders were put in the shade."
5. Mausoleum of Halicarnassus. This was a magnificent tomb built for the Persian King Mausolus. His wife and daughter started building the tomb three years before he died. That’s where we get our English word mausoleum.
6. Statue of Helios at Rhodes. Sometimes called “the Colossus,” this 110-foot statue of the sun god Helios was built on an island just offshore Rhodes. Some say it was the inspiration for the Statue of Liberty, which is forty feet taller.
7. The Lighthouse at Alexandria. Egypt is sometimes called “the Pharos” which is the Spanish, French, and Italian word for “lighthouse.” The entire lighthouse stood 384 feet tall.
Six out of seven of these wonders of the ancient world no longer exist. But you and I hold in our hands a miracle called the Word of God
WONDER # 1: THE BIBLE’S DIVINE INSPIRATION “All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness.” II Timothy 3:16
WONDER #2: THE BIBLE’S UNIQUE FORMATION “You must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” II Peter 1:20-21
Jesus said, “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations (ethnesin), and then the end will come.” Matthew 24:14
WONDER # 4: THE BIBLE’S HONEST CONFIRMATION Dr. Luke wrote: “Since I have carefully investigated everything from the beginning (eyewitness accounts), it seemed good to write out an orderly account for that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.” Luke 1:3-4
(1) Scientific proof (2) Literary proof (3) Historical proof
WONDER# 5: THE BIBLE’S ENDURING PRESERVATION “Your word, O Lord, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens.” Psalm 119:89
WONDER #6: THE BIBLE’S PROPHETIC VALIDATION “I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me. I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times what is still to come.” Isaiah 46:9-10
A. Historical prophecies: Israel resettled (Amos 9:14)
B. Messianic prophecies: Details about Jesus
1. The Virgin Birth (Isaiah 7:14, Luke 1:34)
2. The Place of birth (Micah 5:2, Luke 2:4)
3. Betrayed by a friend (Zechariah 11:12-13, Matthew 27:3-7)
4. Crucified (Psalm 22:16, Luke 23:30)
5. Died with thieves (Isaiah 53:9, Luke 23:32)
6. Lots cast for clothes (Psalm 22:18, John 19:23-24)
7. Buried in rich man’s tomb (Isaiah 53:9, Matthew 27:57-60)
WONDER #7: THE BIBLE’S PERSONAL APPLICATION “From infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Jesus Christ.” II Timothy 3:15
"For ever, 0 Lord, thy word is settled in heaven." (Psalm 119:89).
"All flesh is as grass, and all the glory thereof as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower falleth: but the Word of the Lord abideth forever. " (I Pet. l:24-25a).
You could destroy yourself
Sounds like Revelation 22:18 and 19, doesn't it? "If you add anything to this book, shall be added to you the plagues that are in it, or if you take anything away...
The writings of Paul must be Scripture because if you distort it, it lead to eternal damnation.
2 Tim 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. A text without a context is a pretext.
“RING AROUND THE ROSES” ORIGINAL RHYME 1665 LONDON: “Ring-a-ring o’roses, A pocket full of posies, A-tishoo! A-tishoo! We all fall down.” ring o’roses – in reference to small reddish spots on skin. A pocket full of posies – belief that evil smells were the breath of demons, wore sweet smelling flowers to drive them away A-tishoo! – the sneezing that accompanied the plague We all fall down – death


Peter would have a particular passion in his heart as he penned those words. He, more than most people, knew what it was like to fall from steadfastness. As Jesus faced the cross, He had labored to brace his disciples against panic and fear. He had warned them of His coming death and promised them future glory and life in His resurrection from the dead.
Peter knew the promise of the Lord of resurrection and future glory. Yet, under the pressure of the moment, he cursed Jesus and denied even knowing Him. Peter fell from steadfastness with a crash that has sounded throughout history.
So Peter closes his letter with a plea that is close to his heart. He wants to give words that will hold people up - brace them against false religion and trial - keep them steadfast until the Day of the Lord.
Be on your guard against false teachers, against their destructive heresies. That's why Paul says to Timothy, "Study to show yourself approved unto God." Be on your guard. Why? "Lest being carried away by the error of unprincipled men." There's another title for the false teachers. Their victims are the untaught and the unstable who distort the Scripture. But the ones who lead the distortion are the unprincipled men, the false teachers. Unprincipled is lawless.
John Macarthur says “These unprincipled men, these lawless men, these men who live apart from and without God's law...listen, any time you hang around or listen to lawless false teachers who distort the Scripture, you run the risk of being led astray. You can't sit in a church where somebody is twisting and distorting the Scripture without running the risk of being led astray. You can't sit in a college, be it called Christian or not, and listen to people distort the Scripture without running the risk of being led astray. You can't go to a seminary for the sake of its academic reputation, sit there and hear error all the time without running the risk of being led astray by unprincipled, lawless men. Only truth sanctifies. Only truth brings righteousness.”
You become unstable
Or you might fall from your own steadfastness." Literally fall out of, you could be seduced and fall out of your own steadfastness. What's that word steadfastness? Firmness, it's the opposite of unstable, the very opposite of unstable. Peter has in mind a firm stance on truth, taking a firm stand. Remember when Paul wrote 1 Timothy at the end of the first chapter he talked about Hymenaeus and Alexander who had led people into shipwreck in regard to their faith, falling out of steadfastness. He's not saying losing your salvation, that's eternal. But you fall from your stability, you fall from your steadfastness in doctrine, in truth, conviction, confidence. You could fall out of your steadfastness into confusion, double mindedness, doubt, chaos. Don't let that happen.
Jesus will give strength to the weak. What He won't give is diligence to the careless. In citing weakness as the cause of our sins, we cleverly shift the blame away from ourselves to the lack of help from above. Peter will allow no such scheming in his closing words.
2 Peter 3:17 - "You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard so that you are not carried away by the error of unprincipled men and fall from your own steadfastness..."
Proverbs 4:23 - "Watch over your heart with all diligence, For from it flow the springs of life."
Your heart needs more protecting than your Commodore or your Mercedes. There is more than just temporal loss at stake. I can lose my soul through carelessness. And Jesus said when you lose your soul, there's no getting it back. You can't take everything indiscriminately into your mind and keep your spiritual stability. Put one of those carbon monoxide monitors over your heart. Stay alert to the danger of drifting from Jesus.
"Be no more children tossed to and fro and carried about every wind of doctrine through the crafty, cunning operations of Satan," Ephesians 4:14.
This is the verse that challenged me as a young person to know the Word of God.
Did I want to be like a little child, fickle about tasting each strange idea that came along, or would I know God’s word and be stable?
Then we will no longer be little children, tossed by the waves and blown around by every wind of teaching, by human cunning with cleverness in the techniques of deceit. 15 But speaking the truth in love, let us grow in every way into Him who is the head—Christ.

Peter had said that in 1 Peter 2:2, "As babes desire the pure milk of the Word that you may grow by it." And so here he just reminds us that since we're going to spend our eternity with the Lord Jesus, we need to be growing in the grace and knowledge of Him. The verb auxano means to advance in the sphere of grace through the knowledge, the sphere of grace through the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. How do we gain that knowledge? Coming to know Him better through the study of the Word, through intimate fellowship with Him. All this means a deeper and deeper knowledge of Christ.
In Grace In Knowledge
This is a recap for Peter. It is not the first time he has outlined this powerful truth:
2 Peter 1:2 - "Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord."
Grace and peace are obviously tremendously important. How are they multiplied in my life? Peter says it has much to do with knowledge. Specifically, the knowledge of "our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ" (3:18).
Keep your attention on Jesus. Not just with emotional worship choruses. Not just with sentiment. You need to know everything Jesus ever said. When did He say it? To whom was He speaking? How did He pray? When did He fast? When did He talk about His Second Coming? What did He say about it? What did He say about healing? What did He say about the Holy Spirit? How did He say He wanted to make His presence real and powerful in my heart?
That's the kind of knowledge of Jesus Christ Peter is talking about. His truth must be learned before His Person can be properly loved. His truth must be carved into the mind before I can obey it with my will. Above all else, grow in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!
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."
There is such simple, practical wisdom here. Notice how Peter balances knowledge and the affections. He has the wisdom to put knowledge first. It is the terribly frustrating experience of many Christians that they try to make themselves love Jesus through worship when they don't know Him with their minds.
That route will only make you feel empty and phoney and hypocritical. You must start from the ground up. You must know before you can properly love or obey.
But knowledge must never be an end in itself. Jesus is looking for people who both know Him and glorify Him. When you truly know Jesus, never be intimidated out of passionately expressing praise and worship to Him just because someone else will think you're just empty headed and emotional.
True, there are empty headed fanatics. True, there are mindless trancers who just follow the crowd in whatever they're told to do. But while both those examples are displeasing to the Lord, they are no more displeasing to Him than those who know the truth inside out, but refuse obedient passion in praise and worship and the glorifying Jesus now as we will in eternity.
1. By Receiving God’s Word. Luke 8:13 & 18(NIV) “Those on the rock are the ones who receive the Word with joy when they hear it, but they have no roots...Therefore consider carefully how you listen...”
Hebrews 2:1(NIV) “We must pay more careful attention to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away.” Acts 2:41(NIV) “Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.”
2. By Reading God’s Word. Revelation 1:3 Blessed is the one who reads and blessed are those who hear the words of this prophecy and keep what is written in it, because the time is near
3. By Researching God’s Word. Psalm 1:1-3 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. 2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. 3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.
4. By Remembering God’s Word. Colossians 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; (LB) “Remember what Christ taught and let His words enrich your lives and make you wise...”
Psalm 119:11(NKJV) “Your Word have I hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You.”
John 15:7(NKJV) “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you shall ask what you desire and it shall be done for you.”
5. By Reflecting On God’s Word. 2 Timothy 2:7(NIV) “Reflect on what I am saying, for the Lord will give you insight into all of this.” Consider what I say; and the Lord give thee understanding in all things.
Joshua 1:8(NIV) “Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; but meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.”
6. By Reorienting Your Life Around It (James 1:22). It says we are to be doers of the Word, not just hearers. We are first to be a hearer. Listen carefully to the instructions and admonitions of the Bible-get the Bible in your head and in your heart. Then, you are to be a doer. If what you believe does not find itself in your daily walk, then you have not heard well. Our doing manifests the degree of our hearing. It is one thing to know what the Bible says, and another to put it into shoe leather as we live from day to day in this present evil world.
7. By Transmitting It Pass It On- (Acts 1:8). When the power of God came at Pentecost, the message of the Gospel flourished and spread to Jerusalem, Judea and to the uttermost part of the earth (Mark 16:15). If we will share the word of God with others, sinners will be saved. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God (Rom. 10:17).

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