Title: Answering the BIG Question
Scripture: 2 Peter 3:1-16 NIV
What about suffering – doesn’t that prove there isn’t a loving God?
Adam was given a choice; to obey God or to disobey Him.
He chose disobedience, and God said, “Cursed is the ground [earth] because of you: through painful toil you will eat food from it all the days of your life” (Genesis 3:17 NIV).
Note the word “painful.”
Think how many people are plagued with cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis, heart disease, emphysema, Parkinson’s disease, and other debilitating illnesses.
Did God “blow it” when He created humanity?
Sadly, many use the issue of suffering as an excuse to reject any thought of God, when its existence is the very reason we should believe in Him.
In the beginning God created perfect humans, and they lived in a perfect world without suffering – it was heaven on earth.
When sin came into the world, death and misery came with it.
What’s the ultimate answer?
“We are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells.
So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found… at peace with Him” (2 Peter 3:13-14 NIV).
Suffering reached its zenith when Jesus said from the cross, “It is finished” (John 19:30 NIV).
Those words mean “paid in full.”
They mean when you accept Jesus as your Savior, you will go to heaven when you die, and you will live in a glorious earth made new without sin or suffering.
“No eye has seen…no ear has heard… no human mind has conceived – the things God has prepared for those who love Him” (1 Corinthians 2:9 NIV).
If you’re not sure this is true, today put your trust in Jesus.
Here let me share even further how I know this is true… follow me for a few moments in Scripture…
1 This is my second letter to you, dear friends, and in both of them I have tried to stimulate your wholesome thinking and refresh your memory. 2 I want you to remember what the holy prophets said long ago and what our Lord and Savior commanded through your apostles.
3 Most importantly, I want to remind you that in the last days scoffers will come, mocking the truth and following their own desires. 4 They will say, “What happened to the promise that Jesus is coming again? From before the times of our ancestors, everything has remained the same since the world was first created.”
Reflection: (2 Peter 3:3-4)
“In the last days” scoffers will say that Jesus is never coming back, but Peter refutes their argument by explaining God’s mastery over time.
The “last days” is the time between Christ’s first and second comings; thus, we, like Peter, live in the last days.
We must do the work to which God has called us and believe that He will return as He promised.
5 They deliberately forget that God made the heavens long ago by the word of his command, and he brought the earth out from the water and surrounded it with water. 6 Then he used the water to destroy the ancient world with a mighty flood. 7 And by the same word, the present heavens and earth have been stored up for fire. They are being kept for the day of judgment, when ungodly people will be destroyed.
Reflection: (2 Peter 3:7)
In Noah’s day the earth was judged by water, at the Second Coming it will be judged by fire.
This fire is described in Revelation 19:20; 20:10-15.
8 But you must not forget this one thing, dear friends: A day is like a thousand years to the Lord, and a thousand years is like a day. 9 The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent.
Reflection: (2 Peter 3:8-9)
God may have seemed slow to these believers as they faced persecution every day and longed to be delivered.
But God is not slow; He just is not on our timetable (Psalm 90:4).
Jesus is waiting so that more sinners will repent and turn to Him.
We must not sit and wait for Christ to return, but we should realize that time is short and we have important work to do.
Be ready to meet Christ any time, even today, yet plan your course of service as though He may not return for many years.
10 But the day of the Lord will come as unexpectedly as a thief. Then the heavens will pass away with a terrible noise, and the very elements themselves will disappear in fire, and the earth and everything on it will be found to deserve judgment.[a]
11 Since everything around us is going to be destroyed like this, what holy and godly lives you should live,
Reflection: (2 Peter 3:10-11)
The day of the Lord is the day of God’s judgment on the earth.
Here it is used in reference to Christ’s return.
Christ’s second coming will be sudden and terrible for those who do not believe in Him.
But if we are spiritually alert, it won’t come as a surprise.
(For other prophetic pictures of the day of the Lord, see Isaiah 34:4; Joel 3:15-16; Matthew 24; Mark 13; Luke 21; and Revelation 6:12-17).
Realizing that the earth is going to be burned up, we should put our confidence in what is lasting and eternal and not be bound to earth and its treasures or pursuits.
Do you spend more of your time piling up possessions or striving to develop a Christlike character?
12 looking forward to the day of God and hurrying it along. On that day, he will set the heavens on fire, and the elements will melt away in the flames. 13 But we are looking forward to the new heavens and new earth he has promised, a world filled with God’s righteousness.
Reflection: (2 Peter 3:13)
God’s purpose for people is not destruction, but re-creation (see Isaiah 66:22; Revelation 21-22).
God will purify the heavens and the earth with fire, then He will create them anew.
We can joyously look forward to the restoration of God’s good world.
14 And so, dear friends, while you are waiting for these things to happen, make every effort to be found living peaceful lives that are pure and blameless in his sight.
Reflection: (2 Peter 3:14)
We should not become lazy and complacent because Christ has not yet returned.
Instead, we should live in eager expectation of His coming.
What would you like to be doing when Christ returns?
That is how you should be living each day.
15 And remember, our Lord’s patience gives people time to be saved. This is what our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you with the wisdom God gave him— 16 speaking of these things in all of his letters. Some of his comments are hard to understand, and those who are ignorant and unstable have twisted his letters to mean something quite different, just as they do with other parts of Scripture. And this will result in their destruction.
Reflection: (2 Peter 3:15-16)
By the time of Peter’s writing, Paul’s letters already had a widespread reputation.
Notice that Peter spoke of Paul’s letters as if they were on a level with “other parts of Scripture.”
Already the early church was thinking of Paul’s letters as inspired by God.