Thank you guys. That’s good to be here, right? I don’t know how many you guys had, what kind of week or whatever, but I’m glad you’re here.
Awesome. Okay. Can you hear me? Great. Well, yeah.
Maybe you had a crazy week. Maybe it’s been an amazing week. Nonetheless, I’m just grateful that I’m here. I’m grateful that you guys are here. And I even got to see, God just gave me a kiss from heaven.
I walked in this morning and one of the guys that just invested so much in me as a teenager, like Amy was sharing Rob Fowler. He’s a disciple here from Fort Lauderdale. And so he’s sitting with Tony. But Tony and I owe so much of our formative years to Rob.
And just what it means when you pour into someone who’s young. So I, too, once was young. And Rob, thank you, man. Great to have you welcome.
But you know what time is passing and the passage of time does not slow, right? I don’t know how many you guys have thought, but have you guys thought about heaven recently? We’re going to talk about heaven a lot this morning. Heaven. Amen? I really long for heaven?
And I can’t wait when I think about heaven. What’s that going to be like? It needs to be something I think about more. But I think preparing this week just to speak with you guys this morning. I really have just thought I want to be in heaven more and more and more. And I think the scriptures really call me to ponder what heaven would be like and to think about it.
This is the calling I see in the scriptures. It’s going to be the moment when I get to meet Jesus at long last. I can’t imagine what it will be. It’ll be amazing.
There’ll be no worries. There’ll be no weeks like the week you had this week. That will be gone in Jesus presence. That’s what heaven’s going to be. Just amazing. You won’t be able to think of anything else because you’ll be consumed with the presence of Christ, his glory and goodness which draws you to Him will be in full display before you when you get to heaven.
Imagine no anxiety, no pain, no worries, no bills. Right? Heaven is a great thing to set your hope on. And in First Peter, the first command is set your hope to set your hope. Fix your hope on heaven.
That’s the first thing he says in oFirst Peter. But if you’re like me, a fog can set in. A fog can set in where I can’t really see really clearly. Heaven seems , you know those scenes, I don’t know what the shot is called, but there’s a technical camera technique where you’re getting closer to something.
You’re approaching it, but you Zoom in or Zoom out as you approach it, and it just looks like you’ll never get there. Well, I can feel that way, right? The to dos of my life fog, my glimpse of heaven, my goal. And I’m not sure exactly which way I’m oriented anymore. I just got to survive the day.
I just got to survive the week. I’ve lived a couple of weeks like that recently. I just want to make it out in one piece. We all got things. It might have been a test that you had this week.
Maybe it was a major doctor procedure you had to have this week. Maybe you were wondering how you’d make rent last week. Meal prepping. I know my single friends. Like, I got a meal prep.
I got to do laundry. I got to do all this stuff, right? We do too. Married. All of it, training your kids, potty, training your kids.
There’s just so many things. Maybe you need an oil change. Maybe your oil engine check engine lights on. Right. And then finally, when all that’s done, you just repeat it over again.
Right? Add nauseam again and again and again. So finally, where is our room to think about heaven? Because the point here is, I don’t know that many of us ponder with anticipation the return of Jesus very often or like we should or like we could, because truth be told, it’s not the main meditation of my heart. Most days, it’s kind of like, what can I do now that I can think right?
Sometimes it’s like that. And more often than not, my prayers become this desperate plea for God. Like, I just need daily bread rather than the your Kingdom come kind of prayers, right. The expected return of Jesus. It can seem so far off at times, it can seem foggy at best.
Many things want to cloud that long term goal. Busyness, for sure. But there’s other things. There’s sin, there are setbacks. Maybe you are going through a lot of distractions in your life.
Maybe there’s doubts, the fog of doubt that clouds your view of heaven. And then there’s false teaching, right? Really? You’re going the wrong direction with just though. And you’re like, I’m going there.
And you don’t actually know where God wants you to be going because you’re influenced by false teachings. Nonetheless, a very similar circumstances going on in the first century. Okay. Think about our disciples. Jesus had just left and he said, I’ll be back.
I will be back. And the disciples were expecting Jesus to come like, any second now, come on, Jesus. And all of a sudden, people like Paul and Matthew, their hair starts turning Gray and here’s a funeral for one.
Here’s another funeral for another. And this lasted throughout the whole first century. And they’re just waiting every day on edge, like, Jesus is coming back soon, right? He’s coming back. He’s coming back.
And I can barely see it now. Is he even coming back? Like, why is he taking so long?
Well, they had to start dealing in the first century and into the second century. For sure. What’s up with his delay? Why is he taking so long? This was an issue that the disciples they had to start defending because Jesus coming back seemed more of a misty dream.
And a lot of critics in the Church started speaking up and scoffing. And today we’re going to look at the book of Second Peter. So turn your Bibles there, because Second Peter is a letter. It’s not really a book, but it’s in the Bible. It’s toward the end of the Bible.
But anyways, if you want to go all the way to the end, look at Revelation. There’s a couple Johns before that. Second Peter is right before the Johns. But Second Peter spoke to this problem that they had, and we feel it. And we have tinges of this problem as well.
And it can say a lot to us now. It’s very relevant. If you feel like there’s a lot of distractions from the expectation of Jesus coming back. This letter has some things to say to us two thoudand years later. And so this morning, I’m excited.
We’re going to kick off a new sermon series for the next five or six weeks. This is going to carry us all the way until the holiday seasons here. But we’re going to talk about the second coming of Christ before Christmas and all the first coming of Christ, the Advent. We’re going to talk about His second coming for quite a few weeks. And Second Peter is the book we will be in.
So you’re in Second Peter. Do you find it? Yeah. It’s very small, but we’re going to look really in great depth over the next few weeks. And I encourage you as you go home today.
Read Second Peter, that’s your homework assignment. Just be familiar with it as we start to look into it deeply. Second Peter. Okay. Like I said, it’s a letter.
Anyone get a nice letter in their mail this week? Maybe not a bill. I love letters like God, what’s in here? Thank you.
It’s a letter. Right. And so Peter, he’s going there and he’s like, there’s some things going on. I got to write something. I got to send it to them and they open it.
And essentially, it addresses some really serious things. Now I got to say, this isn’t like a theological treaty that we’re looking at. This is a letter. We went in someone’s mailbox and stole their mail, and we’re looking at a conversation that’s addressing specific problems of their day. But there’s a lot of principles we can apply to our day.
Does that make sense? And it’s called an epistle, which is a fancy word for letter. Maybe Epistles had a wax seal on them. I don’t know why they use that word, but it’s a letter. Okay.
And we can overlook the little books in the Bible, I think, because they’re so small, you know, and how much time do you really give those kind of things. Right? Second Peter, Jude is very similar to second Peter. But anyways, we’re going to learn a lot about what they’re going through here. And so what I want to say here, I just want to tell you a little bit about the letter.
Okay. Some setting. I want to set it up for you. But anyways, Peter right. He wrote this.
Who’s Peter? He’s an Apostle. In fact, he was the closest he pushed to be the closest to Jesus. He was the most to speak up in the New Testament. If you’ve read any gospel, you’ve seen Peter say something really dumb in his young years.
This is not a Peter of young years, though. This is probably Peter’s last will and Testament. This is him saying, look, I’m about to die. I am probably writing this from prison in Rome, and he dies very shortly after this letter. So this is probably Ad 64, Ad 68.
One of those sometime between then and in it, he self proclaims that this letter is a reminder. He basically sums his letter up saying, it is a reminder, just like my letter before was a reminder. We’re in second Peter, right. And in second Peter, it’s three verse one, he says, I’ve written both of my letters as reminders to you. And within the letter itself, he refers to writing before.
And we’re not exactly sure who he was writing to like, we don’t know whose mailbox we’re opening, but we’re pretty sure it was probably a group of mixed disciples, Gentiles Jews, all kinds of backgrounds and Asia Minor. So the word choice, though. Very interesting. Second, Peter, it’s a very I don’t want to go too long on this, but they debated for the first and second century. Should we include it?
Should we not in the Canon? And the reason was that this letter is offsetting. If you speak Greek and you’re reading it in the language, you’re going to notice, like you’re using some New Age, like, really cultural words. You’re not using Church lingo in this letter. This is very has a worldly flavor to it.
But Peter knows this is a rebuke. This is like an intense letter, a wakeup call when you get that final letter in the mail, like, your license will be suspended next week if you don’t pay this ticket, hopefully you haven’t gotten to that point, right? Yeah. But anyways, Peter here, it’s in Greek dress, like, totally dressed in Greek culture. And so that was offsetting, right?
He’s using Ebonics. He’s using terms like this is my truth. Like things like that, right? That sound very worldly.
But Peter has a lot to say. And there’s a great reason he uses that. Legend says that right after this, he was crucified upside down. And so he knew his death was coming. And you know what legend says when he died, the last words he said to him and his wife was remember the Lord.
And he says this letter is a reminder. I want you to remember these things Peter was all about, you got to remember. Don’t lose sight, don’t lose focus. And here are the two main themes about Peter.
All right? Two themes. If you want to take notes, there’s a lot, but you can take notes on this two themes and we’ll just look closely at both of them. Second, Peter, one of the things it does is it was written to orient us towards the future goal of all Christians to make it to heaven. He wants to Orient us in our Compass, to point towards heaven.
Don’t lose direction. And then the second theme throughout here, he warns us of those who would send us in the wrong direction, right? It’s like someone’s going to try to spin you around. Don’t let it happen. So let’s dive into the first theme here.
Second, Peter orients us towards the future goal of all Christians to make it to heaven. In verse, you might want to look in your Bibles if you can see in this light. But in chapter one, verse ten, he says quite clearly, make every effort to confirm you’re calling and election. He’s concerned that we get to be with God. He’s saying, don’t miss the train, confirm your reservation.
And so we’ll Zoom through here. But in chapter one, verse eleven, along this theme, he says that we will receive a rich welcome into the eternal Kingdom of our Lord. He’s forwardlooking. One. Verse one nine.
Pay attention until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. Two verse nine, the day of judgment is coming. Three verse four, he’s confronting Scoffers, who say, Where is this second coming he promised? He addresses that directly.
Chapter three, verse seven. The present heaven and Earth are reserved for fire being kept for the day of judgment. Chapter three, verse ten He’s warning us that the day of the Lord will come like a thief and it will catch you off guard. Don’t be caught off guard. Three verse twelve.
Look forward to the day of God and speed it’s coming. Verse 13 we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new Earth where righteousness dwells. Verse 14 since you’re looking forward to this, make every effort to be found at peace with him. And then his last statement. Chapter three, verse 18 he closes by saying to him, Be the glory both now and to the day of eternity.
He’s keeping heaven on the forefront of his mind. Here there’s at least ten explicit references to the future day of the Lord, right? Safe to say there is a pattern and a theme here. Peter wants us to set our sights on the future where the wicked will be punished and the righteous, in verse ten, he says, will receive a rich welcome into the eternal Kingdom. So he’s driving home the point here that this calling a little subtheme. It takes hard work. This is a journey like Frodo to Mount Doom, right?
It’s going to be tough. And a repeated word that he says again and again in verse 510 15, chapter three, verse 14, he says, make every effort, every effort. Make every effort. I will make every effort. So dear friends, since you’re looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless and blameless with him.
Nobody can just coast into heaven no matter how bad you want to get there. You ain’t going to coast there on Roly skates through the Pearly gates. I don’t know if you know that song, but yeah, you’re not just going to coast in without intention, without direction. You’re going to sweat if you make it at all, considering all the obstacles to avoid. And he makes them very clear for this audience in second peter right. This is not a works based theology where you have to work your way in. We’re just going to look at the very first greeting of the letter here, but you’re going to see right away. He talks about Grace. By Grace, I’ve been called and I’m going to make every effort because of that.
So in a nutshell, this scripture sums it up in chapter three, verse eleven, he’s trying to say, Look, I want you to live Godly lives while we await the day of Jesus return. Two Peter 311 sums it up. He asks his own question, and he answers his own question. It’s pretty helpful, he says, since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live Holy and Godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed His coming.
So how we live really matters to Peter, right. There were reasons that he had to emphasize this point because they were starting to creep into the Church.
People saying like, don’t worry how you live. That’s not the most important part here, right? He had some would begin to model in the Church lives that looked a lot like the world. So I wonder if he said, Let me use some worldly diction and some worldly words, because maybe a lot of them are on that level, and maybe they’ll catch what I’m trying to say, too. But he is talking to Christians, but he knows that although he’s talking to Christians, not all of them are actually Christians.
That would say they are that are hearing the letter. So in tone, this letter is challenging. It’s very challenging letter, and it has to be. It uses some really scary blunt and repetitive phrases because things are really getting weird with these Christians who say we’re Christians, right? Follow me.
Do what I’m doing. He knew that it would be read in the midst of opponents that would discredit what he’s saying. So he Stoops down to speak a worldly dialect that they will hear clearly. And in it is the message that Jesus is coming back. Look forward to heaven, but others that are I know you’re here. He’s coming back for you, too. And you should expect to pee your pants when you meet him. That’s what he’s saying. So there’s really a second theme here that the second theme is Second peter warns us that those who would send us, there are those that would send us in the wrong direction. There are menacing roadblocks. There are pitfalls that will take us from our goal. And he calls them out. He calls them false teachers.
It’s really clear that’s the second chapter, and in the second chapter in verses one and two, I’ll just read it. He says there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them, bringing Swift destruction on themselves. Many will follow their depraved conduct.
All of chapter two essentially, it’s describing the danger that these kind of teachers and these kind of men and women are to the Church and how they have their own agenda to turn many from the Church. In chapter two, verse three, the pattern here just to Zoom through this, it says these teachers will exploit you. They’ll take advantage of you with fabricated stories.
Verse 13 they’re going to revel in pleasure while they feast with you. They’re going to take Communion with you. Chapter two, verse 14 they never stopped sinning. They seduce the unstable. Chapter two, verse 18 by appealing to the lustful desires of the flesh, they entice people.
And the word is, they allure people, like with a hook, and they draw them away from Christ. In verse 19, he says, they promise freedom while they themselves are slaves of depravity.
In verse 17, I love the description. He’s like, look, this is them, but they are black holes. That’s what I hear. He doesn’t use quantum language here, but he says black is darkness is reserved for them. They are blocks.
They are blemishes. They are slick. They are seductive. They appeal to your weakness. They will say things you want to hear.
Yet Jesus is coming back for them. So don’t get sucked into what they’re trying to do. He’s being patient. That’s why they’re doing what they’re doing right now. He wants them to repent.
He’s allowing time for repentance. But please don’t let them deceive you. Not while God waits for them to repent. Don’t let them deceive you too. And all who go along with them are going to find destruction.
So this false teaching here, it doesn’t exactly say what it is. So we don’t know exactly what group of false teachers it was. But we can say by looking at the descriptions of all the ways they were going wrong, that it smelled a lot like Gnosticism, which is more of a later first century second century heresy. That first John, second John, third John. They’re clearly addressing, but this is like pre Gnosticism, right?
It’s the perfect storm. Perhaps before they go down that route. And before they fully infiltrate the Church, he’s saying, look, this smells like Gnosticism. And I’ll just say that in the word Gnosticism or Gnosis, it means knowledge. They know something that we just don’t know.
They’re enlightened, you know, they have a knowledge, an applied knowledge. Like if you think about the world, the revelations that will come to you like, apart from Christ, as though there’s something extra to know to be on the in, the flesh doesn’t matter, right? That authority and those that would lead you and teach you, you can’t trust these teachings about Christ anymore. It’s a skeptical, selfindulgent fleshy kind of way to live. So Peter uses gnosis.
He uses this word because that’s what’s going on. And he contrasts it with a different word called epinosis. And he’s saying, look, you got gnosis versus I have epynosis. Epi. We know gnosis means knowledge, right?
Epi means to fit into it’s a prefix. And he’s saying, I know something you don’t know because I actually have experience with it. I have, like, a relational experience with my knowledge. And I have epignosis of Jesus. So in contrast, you may know some things false teachers, but I personally know Jesus.
And that’s an experience. I don’t know that you can see it here. But the definition of eponosis here experiential knowledge gained through firsthand relationship, as though fitting a glove on your hand. It intensifies knowledge. He’s saying, You’re going to insist on your way and your gnosis. You’re going to insist on your disdain for authority, et cetera.
To battle this, I have a remedy. And that is my knowledge of Christ, my knowledge of Jesus. And here’s the theme I want to land on for the day. This is our theme for this morning, he had an intimate relationship with Jesus, gained through a firsthand relationship with Jesus.
Verse two of chapter one, he actually starts out this way, like from the GetGo. There’s so much Greek worldly language in the first paragraph that people are like, is this in the Bible, right? But he’s saying, Grace and peace to you in verse two, in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus. The epinosis of Jesus. In verse three, we can live a Godly life through our knowledge of Jesus.
In verse eight, your knowledge of our Lord Jesus. Chapter two, verse 20 escape the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I have an antidote and a remedy, right? This is going to help you. This is knowing Jesus Christ is the best safeguard against false teaching.
And that is still true today. And so the one lesson today that we can learn from this letter, even on the surface, what is the one lesson that I want us to get? There’s a lot. I kind of wanted to give you an overview of what we’re going to dive into. But the point for today is this: get to know Jesus that’s the point.
I got one point. We’ve already said it, but get to know Jesus, you might think, but I already know Him, right. But think again, in what way do you know Jesus? Do you know Him more like a Gnostic or more like a true Christian.
You have gnosis or epignosis of Jesus. And we’ll come back to this. But I just want to read the first paragraph of Second Peter. And so we can just look at the greeting. And we’re going to look at this point here.
Simon Peter, a servant and Apostle of Jesus Christ. To those who, through the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ have received a faith as precious as ours, Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus Christ, our Lord. His divine power has given us everything we need for a Godly life through our knowledge of Him, who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these, he has given us his very great and precious promise, so that through them you might participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption of the world caused by evil desires.
So he says He’s a servant first, then an Apostle later, a lot of humility in this man through the years.
And he’s saying that through the righteousness of our God and Savior, I have a precious faith. I’ve obtained something and received something I do not want to let go of. And he says, Our God and Savior, and that is not God. And then our Savior. He’s saying, Jesus is our God and Savior.
Jesus is our God and Savior. This is not a title for two separate subjects. Nowhere else in the Bible other than second Peter chapter one, verse two. Does it say Jesus is our God?
Quite so clearly as this scripture. It’s pretty powerful scripture, it’s important. And he says, Grace and peace. You get these gifts only through knowing Jesus, right? We have the key.
If we know Jesus, we have great gifts. But these gifts don’t come apart from a relationship with Jesus, not just Grace here, but he gives us everything we need more and more gifts. And we visited that in Ephesians, chapter four. He gives us everything we need for a Godly life. And how it’s because we know Him because we know Him.
That is the key. Paul felt the same way in Ephesians chapter three, verse eight. Right. I want to know Christ. That’s what his heart beats most.
And it says, I’m going to leave verse four. But verse four is what makes people like, Whoa, you can participate in the divine nature? That was like a saying of the time. Plato and the Stoics loved that phrase, and they meant something very different than what he means. But Marcus will take us there next week.
So read the book, right. We have to end here pretty much so in order to just give our thoughts here towards Communion. I wanted to point us to Jesus. The point today is simple. Get to know Jesus.
Communion is all about recalling and knowing Jesus. It’s a celebration. It really is. And we have this celebration of knowing him and knowing all else who truly know him too. Consider as we close, what does getting to know him look like for you and your situation?
Where are you at with knowing him?
It might mean with a little nuance here. Get to really know Jesus. Like, for real, for real? Like perhaps for the first time, maybe you’ve gone to Church your whole life. I don’t know.
But do you truly know him? Not facts about a dead guy. He’s not dead, but rather experiencing true friendship with a living and returning Savior. Experience him in your life. You can ask someone to study the Bible with you.
Or maybe you mean I need to get to know Jesus again. He does warn against losing your knowledge of him and getting entangled. So he’s saying maybe that means just come back to him, come back to him. Maybe it’s repentance you’re not too far gone. Maybe you’re in the midst somewhere.
Maybe you’ve been influenced by some really weird teachings. False teachings? I don’t know. But get to know him again. Where are you this morning?
And then lastly, if none of those fit, maybe it means get to know him deeper. Get to know him more. How can you know the depths, the full depths of Jesus? You can’t. There’s so much more for you.
Even if you’ve been a Christian for 50 years, you don’t fully know him. You’ll never know all there is to his infinite glory and goodness that drew you to him. He captured our hearts. And there’s still so much to uncover. So let’s dive deeper.
And as we take Communion this morning, I just want you to ponder heaven. Ponder heaven in the return of Christ. We’re going to sing a closing song. And we’re going to have Communion here. But it is a ceremonial reminder.
Just in second Peter and Christ issued this reminder himself. This is for us. It’s a time that we can remember that he said he will return soon and he will bring us home with him forever in heaven. Let’s long for that and let’s pray.