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Eyes Wide Open: 2 Peter 3:1-10

Eyes Wide Open: Change is Coming
John Witte

This is now the second letter that I am writing to you, beloved. In both of them I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder, 2 that you should remember the predictions of the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior through your apostles, 3 knowing this first of all, that scoffers willcome in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. 4 They will say, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.” 5 For they deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God, 6 and that by means of these the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished. 7 But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly. 8 But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 9 The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. 10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed. We are entering the season of Advent, which means “coming.” That word is timely because many people think their best life is still ahead. We struggle to build a lasting life, but we do it with temporary building materials. In our waiting, we are also tempted to think that things will always be as they are now and that the Lord is never coming back to change things. Peter corrects our thinking.—2 Peter 3:1–10 (ESV)
WATCH—The clip above from today’s message.

ICE BREAKER— Was there a time in your past that seemed “just like yesterday” to you? You might also think of those days and say, “that also seems like a thousand years ago.” Tell the group about it.

Memories give us perspective – a sense of context. They also become dislodged over time. That isn’t true of the future. Life rarely makes sense in the present as we wait for the future to unfold. This is where God is different. He sees and knows it all, and His plans will develop according to His will.

QUESTION— Today’s lesson is about the second coming of Jesus and the doubts about it that were planted in the people’s minds. Do you ever doubt the return of Christ? How do you deal with doubts?

QUESTION— In verse 1, what does Peter say his purpose is for writing this letter?

QUESTION— Peter reminded his readers that the prophets and Jesus warned the church about scoffers. What is a scoffer? Do you know anyone who would qualify as a scoffer?

QUESTION— In a nutshell, what is the argument of these scoffers?
Paul also gave similar warnings. See, for instance, his words to the elders of the Ephesian church in Acts 20:29–30 and Timothy in 1 Timothy 4:1. Also see 1 John 2:18.

QUESTION— What does the Bible mean by “in the last days?”

READ— Matthew 24:42, Matthew 25:13, Mark 13:33-37 and Luke 21:36

QUESTION— How did Jesus instruct us to live in the last days?

QUESTION— Do you see any irony in the mockery of those who scoff about the second coming of Jesus?

QUESTION— In verses 5-7, what are scoffers deliberately overlooking?

QUESTION— What is the point in saying that a day is like a thousand years?

QUESTION—What do we learn about God from verse 9?

QUESTION— Look at verse 10. How is Jesus like a thief?

DIG DEEPER: ADVENT (from Lat. adventus “coming”)

A term designating either the incarnation of Christ or his second coming. In the Church, it means the season immediately preceding Christmas; in the western church, it comprises the four Sundays before Christmas, whereas in the eastern churches, it begins in mid-November.
~The Eerdmans Bible Dictionary

The first coming of Christ the Lord, God’s son and our God, was in obscurity; the second will be in the sight of the whole world. When he came in obscurity, no one recognized him but his servants; when he comes openly, he will be known by both good people and bad. When he came in obscurity, it was to be judged; when he comes openly, it will be to judge.
~Augustine (AD 354–430)

Advent calls us to start our journey expecting the second coming of Christ. The end time is the period in history when the work of Christ will be consummated, when the powers of evil will be put away forever when the earth will be restored to the golden age described by Isaiah and St. John (see Isa. 65; Rev. 20–22). How is this hope for a future restoration of the world to guide our meditation? First, the hope of a world restored under God proclaims that evil is not the final word. If we were to read only the newspaper accounts of murder, espionage, violence, wars, and the like, we would have only a negative view of the world. If we were to visit the hospitals with the terminally ill, the psychiatric wards with the mentally deranged, or the prisons filled with lawbreakers, we would see the world only from this view. If we were to spend all our time among the poor, those starving to death, and those oppressed under political or economic systems that dehumanize and depersonalize people, we would have a pessimistic view of the world. What the second coming says to us is that the evil of this world is doomed. It will be judged and burned by fire because God in Christ has already dealt a decisive blow to the powers of evil. God has dethroned these powers and taken away their ability to have ultimate control over history and our lives (Col. 2:15).

Next, the second coming says that the ultimate word in history is the triumph of God, the reign of God’s kingdom, and the eternal and lasting rule of the good. Here is where our Advent meditation rests. By faith, we are promised that evil will be judged and done away with, and all will be made whole. This is the vision we want to carry with us as we view the news and visit our world’s hospitals, psychiatric wards, and prisons. Christian hope is an optimism about life that is grounded in Christ.
~Robert Weber, from Ancient-Future Time: Forming Spirituality through the
Christian Year

For a thousand years in your sight are but as yesterday when it is past or as a watch in the night.—Psalm 90:4 (ESV)

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