I have a hard time following the current trends in environmental forecasting. First we had forecasts of the coming of the next Ice Age, then it was global warming, and now we just have generic climate change. Unfortunately, the predictions from these men and women continue to be unreliable, whether they come from scientists with multiple PhDs or gypsies with stacks of Tarot cards. As my pastor noted in his sermon last Sunday, the Bible makes it clear that intense global warming will indeed cause the destruction of not only the earth, but also the atmosphere and the universe:
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. Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! (2 Peter 3:10-12).
This is not the gradual global warming caused by people, but a roaring fire of truly Biblical proportions. And since this prediction comes directly from the God who both created and controls the universe, it will undoubtedly come true. God is not telling us about an increase of a few degrees but a heat that will consume everything! So, when you hear or read about global climate change, let it be a reminder of the coming judgment of God upon this universe and us as individuals. It should drive us all to repentance and faith before it is too late.
This past Sunday my pastor preached a sermon out of 2 Peter chapter 3 which begins:
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, that you should remember the predictions of the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior through your apostles (2 Peter 3:1-2).
One of his areas of emphasis was our need for constant reminder. It is certainly true in my life. It is so easy to drift away from the truth unless we are regularly reeled back in by studying the Bible and by hearing it faithfully preached from the pulpit. So many people seem to believe that once they “graduate” from Sunday School or a catechism class, they no longer need to study the Bible. Put Peter’s warning to these Christians shows that we need to be reminded. We need to be stirred up by hearing the Word. The Lord established the church so that we would be in constant fellowship with other believers and under the care of the pastor and elders. These are God-ordained means to protect us from going astray.
Are you being stirred up regularly? Are you being faithful to the commandments of our Lord and Savior that were passed down to us by the apostles? Or have you “graduated” and moved on to “better things”?
I spent a couple of days traveling for work this week which included several hours watching TV in the hotel. Since I do have cable or satellite TV at home, there are quite a few more programs to choose from than typical. As I scanned through the channels periodically, it was amazing to see the vast number of “Christian” TV shows. For all but one of those I shows I happened upon, there was a common thread—each of the televangelists believed in receiving direct, extra-Biblical revelation from God and in the false prosperity gospel. Here is the list of the various false teachers/prophets I hit upon:
We should not be surprised that these false teachers that promise us health and wealth are the ones that get most of the TV time and the money. The Bible clearly warns us that this will be the case:
But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed. And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. (2 Peter 2:1-3a).
If that passage of 2 Peter chapter 2 stopped there, it would be really depressing. Thankfully, we are encouraged by knowing that God is aware of these false teachers and their judgment is coming.
Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep (2 Peter 2:1-3b).
And, praise God for the Living Waters team and their faithful ministry to God, his Word, and the true Gospel. In my channel flipping, it only took about 20 seconds to realize their TV program was different from all the others because I heard the gospel immediately.
2 Peter 1:8 says,
For if these qualities [knowledge, moral excellence, self-control, kindness, godliness, …] are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
All Christians should be working to increase in these areas so we can be useful and fruitful in service to our Lord. While we will never be perfect in this life, neither should we be satisfied with being immature in our faith. We should not desire not be useless or unfruitful.
If we look at this verse in its context, we can see the emphasis that Peter places on both proper knowledge (orthodoxy) and proper actions that come from that knowledge (orthopraxy).
Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust. Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these qualities is blind or short-sighted, having forgotten his purification from his former sins. Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble; for in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you.
Without proper knowledge of God and his Will, we cannot know what to believe and how to act. Without proper belief and action, that knowledge of God is useless and unfruitful. There is a balance between dead doctrine (knowledge only) and false faith and works (action only).
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 (2 Peter 3:9).
God is definitely patient with us all, but there comes a day (perhaps today) when his divine patience will end for you. Upon your death (perhaps today), you will face his righteous judgment. If you have not had your sins forgiven in this life by repenting and putting your faith in Jesus Christ (do it today!), you will be without hope. There are no second chances. Perhaps today is your last chance.