2 Peter 3: The Lord’s Return

Why do people need to be reminded of the truth?

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2 Peter 3:1–2 My friends, I’m writing this second letter to remind you of the truth and keep your thoughts pure. Remember what the prophets wrote, and heed the instructions of the special messengers of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
King James
2 Peter 3:1–2 This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance: That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour:

How should we regard people who scoff at the truth?

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Matthew 5:43–44 “People usually say, ‘Love your neighbor, and hate your enemy,’ but I say you should show kindness to your enemies, doing good to those who persecute you.”
Matthew 7:6 “Do not give something holy to dogs. They will turn and attack, tearing you to pieces. Do not toss your pearls to pigs. They will only trample them under their feet.”
1 Corinthians 9:22 When people are weak, I empathize with their fragile faith in order to bring them to Christ. I do my best to find common ground with everyone, seeking to help them get from where they are to where God wants them to be.
2 Peter 3:3 You must know this: in these last days, people will scoff at the truth so they can live like they want.
King James
Matthew 5:43–44 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
Matthew 7:6 Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.
1 Corinthians 9:22 To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.
2 Peter 3:3 Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts,

What are people’s most common arguments to oppose the truth of scripture?

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2 Peter 3:4–6 People will say, “Jesus promised to come back, but where is he? Our ancestors who repeated that promise have all died, and everything continues as it has since the beginning of the world.” They don’t want to know that God spoke the universe into existence or hear how he caused dry land to stand above the water, or learn how the ancient world was destroyed by a great flood.
King James
2 Peter 3:4–6 And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished:

What do people often do to feel safe and secure?

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2 Peter 3:7 The skies above and the earth below seem safe enough right now, but they are being kept for a fiery end on Judgment Day, when the unrighteous will be destroyed.
King James
2 Peter 3:7 But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.

How can we be comforted in knowing that God’s promises might be a long way off?

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2 Corinthians 1:20 To experience God’s promises, we must always say yes to him, just as Jesus did. For when we are in complete agreement with his purpose, we share his achievements and glory.
Hebrews 10:36 We can be thankful for delays that bring patience, because endurance is essential for receiving God’s promise.
Hebrews 11:37–39 They were stoned, sawed in half, and killed with the sword, subjected to torture and the threat of death to pressure them to recant their faith. Left in poverty, beaten and crippled, wearing the skins of sheep or goats, they wandered the wilderness and mountains, sleeping in caves and dugouts. With greater honor than those in the world, all were known for their great faith, yet they died without receiving the promise.
2 Peter 3:8–9 Be fully aware of this, my friends: God doesn’t regard time as we do. For him, one day is about the same as a thousand years, and a thousand years is about the same as a day. The Lord isn’t slow in keeping his promise, not like some people think. He is patient, not wanting anyone to perish, giving time for everyone to repent.
King James
2 Corinthians 1:20 For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us.
Hebrews 10:36 For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.
Hebrews 11:37–39 They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth. And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise:
2 Peter 3:8–9 But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

If we can’t know the “day or hour,” how might the Lord’s return not come as a complete surprise?

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Matthew 24:27 “When the Son of Man comes, his arrival will be as unmistakable as the lightning that flashes across the sky and is seen to the far east and west.”
Matthew 24:36 “No one knows the exact date and time, not even the angels in Heaven. Only the Father knows.”
2 Peter 3:10 For those who don’t know God, the Lord’s return will be a complete surprise, like a thief arriving one night. With an explosive sound, the skies will disappear, the elements will melt in intense heat, and everything on Earth will be consumed.
King James
Matthew 24:27 For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
Matthew 24:36 But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.
2 Peter 3:10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.

Of what value are the gifts we have on Earth?

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Matthew 6:19 “Do not store up treasure for yourselves on Earth, where moths and rust can eat it up and thieves break in and steal.”
Matthew 25:23 ” ‘Great job!’ the man said. ‘You are a good, trustworthy servant. Because you have been faithful with a little, I will now make you responsible for much more. Let’s celebrate together.'”
Ephesians 4:7 We have been favored with an abundance in Christ, measured according to our role in fulfilling his purpose.
James 1:11 As soon as the hot summer sun withers the grass, the blossoms fall and their beauty is gone. In the same way, those who have amassed great wealth will end up with nothing.
2 Peter 3:11–12 Since everything around us will be gone, everyone should see the importance of a clean and upright life, seeking only to please the Lord as we expect that day to come at any time, when the sky will be ablaze and the heat will melt everything.
King James
Matthew 6:19 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:
Matthew 25:23 His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
Ephesians 4:7 But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.
James 1:11 For the sun is no sooner risen with a burning heat, but it withereth the grass, and the flower thereof falleth, and the grace of the fashion of it perisheth: so also shall the rich man fade away in his ways.
2 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?

How will a world of righteousness differ from what we have today?

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2 Peter 3:13 But we eagerly anticipate a new world of righteousness, from the skies above to the earth below.
King James
2 Peter 3:13 Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.

How much of Heaven is it possible to see on Earth?

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Matthew 6:10 “May your Kingdom come and your will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven.”
Mark 9:1 “I guarantee, some of you standing here will not die before they see the Kingdom of God come with power.”
2 Peter 3:14 Therefore, my friends, in eager expectation for such things, seek to live in the Lord’s peace and purity, without guilt or shame.
King James
Matthew 6:10 Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
Mark 9:1 And he said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That there be some of them that stand here, which shall not taste of death, till they have seen the kingdom of God come with power.
2 Peter 3:14 Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.

Why did Peter endorse the apostle Paul’s message?

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Galatians 1:8–9 If we, an angel from Heaven, or anybody else preaches a message different from what you first heard from us, let him be judged and condemned. You need to hear this, so I’ll say it again: anyone who proclaims a message different from what you first heard from us, let him be abhorred, being evil.
2 Peter 3:15–16 As our esteemed brother Paul has, in his wisdom, already written to you, be mindful of the Lord’s patience in wanting everyone to be saved. In all his letters, Paul speaks of these things, which may be difficult to understand. Uneducated and unstable people wrestle with the truth, both in his writing and in Scripture, which can lead to their destruction.
King James
Galatians 1:8–9 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.
2 Peter 3:15–16 And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.

What are the potential dangers and benefits of working among unbelievers?

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Matthew 5:15–16 “People do not light a lamp and hide it under a bowl. It is placed on a stand to give light to everyone in the house. In the same way, you should let your kindness shine before men so they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in Heaven.”
1 Corinthians 10:12 If you think you are standing strong, watch out! You are one temptation away from a fall.
2 Peter 3:17 Since you’ve already been made aware, be watchful for what is and isn’t true, lest the error of unbelievers cause you to stray from your commitment to the Lord.
King James
Matthew 5:15–16 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
1 Corinthians 10:12 Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.
2 Peter 3:17 Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness.

What can we do to grow in God’s favor?

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2 Peter 3:18 May you grow in God’s favor and the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Give him all the praise, both now and forever. Yes, let it always be so.
King James
2 Peter 3:18 But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.