Mockers and Twisted Scripture to Be Expected

S (Scripture) – 2 Peter 3:3-4, 10-11, 16-18

“Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts, and saying, ‘Where is the promise of His coming?  For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation.'”

“But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up.  Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness…”

“…as also in his [Paul’s] letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction.  You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard so that you are not carried away by the error of unprincipled men and fall from your own steadfastness, but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity.  Amen.”

O (Observation) – Lord, I see that you have identified that some will be mockers of You, while other “unprincipled men” will distort Your truth.  In a world swirling with non-stop information all around us, how do we know the difference between Your truth and the world’s twisted ideology?

A (Application) – You are clear by saying that we should be prepared to encounter this dilemma on a consistent basis (“knowing this beforehand”) and must move forward throughout our lives “on guard” against the lies we are confronted with in order to be victorious in this life.  You are telling us it is necessary to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,” not so that we can say we intellectually know much about what the Bible says, but so that we can have assurance of Your promises for us.

P (Prayer) – Lord Jesus, help me to truly understand what has lasting value.  You know the characteristics of a true believer in contrast to unbelievers who live ungodly lives.  May the wayward lives of those who live according to the flesh not sway others from following after You.  Bring all to a knowledge of who You are, and may they know that You love them.  Growth is always in direct relationship with time spent in Scripture.  Make us hungry for it, and for You.

Genuine vs. Counterfeit

S (Scripture) – 2 Peter 2:1-2 “But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves.  Many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned;”

O (Observation) – By saying that there will be false prophets and false teachers, this implies that God is able to distinguish between genuine and counterfeit prophets and teachers, as well as between genuine and counterfeit professed believers in Christ.

Jesus said in Matthew 7:21-23, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.  Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?  And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.'”

A (Application) – Lord, salvation and our eternal hope is based on far more than lip service.  There are many self-proclaimed “Christians” in our world today who speak Your word as a teacher to others, yet live broken and empty lives, devoid of Your Holy Spirit’s power.  We must be prepared to discern what each teacher says, be diligent to compare what is said to what You say in Your word, and ensure that the teaching is biblical and aligned with Your truth.  If we are called to teach Your word to others, we must take the responsibility very seriously, as what we say to others must be consistent with all of Your teachings.  Lastly, we must pursue our relationship with You with passion, as we dare not be the ones standing at Your feet when we die and hear the words, “I never knew you…” come from Your precious lips.

P (Prayer) – Heavenly Father, You see through all of our outward appearances and directly into the heart of each person.  You know our motives, our desires, our intentions, and absolutely everything about each one of us.  Help me to discern what I hear in my day to be able to identify when something is not consistent with Your truth.  Holy Spirit, empower me to teach Your word without error and only by Your leading.  May I be welcomed into Your presence upon my death with open arms, because of Your saving grace and the fact that You know me as Your daughter.

Productive and Useful

S (Scripture) – 2 Peter 1:5-8 “In view of all this, make every effort to respond to God’s promises.  Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledgeand knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godlinessand godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone.  The more you grow like this, the more productive and useful you will be in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
O (Observation) – Lord, I see that each of these builds upon one another, and that ultimately, Your desire is for us to be productive and useful for Your kingdom.
Moral excellence – God’s thoughts, Laws, and precepts
KnowledgeDiscovering God’s thoughts, Laws, and precepts
Self-control – Discovering and yielding to God’s thoughts, Laws, and precepts
Patient endurance – Discovering and yielding to God’s thoughts, Laws, and precepts despite direct opposition
Godliness – Discovering and yielding to God’s thoughts, Laws, and precepts despite direct opposition which leads to a reverence toward God and others.
Brotherly affection – Discovering and yielding to God’s thoughts, Laws, and precepts despite direct opposition which leads to a reverence toward God and others that is a genuine outpouring of God’s love.
LoveThe Greek word for this kind of love (agape) is “a deliberate desire for the highest good in the one loved.”  When we discover and yield to God’s thoughts, Laws, and precepts despite direct opposition which leads to a reverence toward God and others that is a genuine outpouring of God’s (agape) love, we are then…
= Productive and Useful
A (Application) – It is necessary to acquire knowledge in order to learn more about God and His truth.  However, we must be careful to not just go around and build up a knowledge base of facts, but rather, to receive and arm ourselves with God’s promises…hiding them in our hearts, and clinging to them always.  When we have claimed these promises for our lives, we must exercise self-control by the power of the Holy Spirit in our day-to-day walk, despite living in a world that stands diametrically opposed to all that God is and says is true.  By showing reverence to our fellow neighbor, and outpouring God’s love upon this broken world, we will be living a life worthy of the calling He has for us.
P (Prayer) – Lord Jesus, thank You for Your truth.  Thank You, that You ultimately “desire the highest good in the one loved.”  Teach me what it means to truly love like that.  Show me how to love like You have loved me.  The opposite of productive and useful is useless and unfruitful.  Lord, may it never be that I would be considered useless due to my own stubbornness, and may it never be that I would be lacking in bearing fruit for you.