Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Scoffers, fleeing to the hills and rocks!

I have just finished studying 2 Peter 3:1-9 and have spent some time on the subject of "scoffers". Verses 3b-4 say:

that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.” [The New King James Version. (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1982), 2 Pe 3:3–4.]

A scoffer is one who "mocks" or "makes fun of" the Word of God or His messengers. We all have seen them; they are the ones who like to ridicule you about your faith. Since they do not want to be accountable to a Holy and living God who is both loving and just, they want to ignore anything that has to do with His existence.

The question posed in Peter's letter is interesting. The question is one of continuing normality. For example, a scoffer says since nothing has changed over the past generation then that proves there is no God. We must be careful with this logic. Our measurement of time is not God's measurement of time. We measure time by the Earth's revolution on its axis and its orbit around the sun. God, who created the universe, created both the Sun and the Earth. He put the Earth on its axis and into its orbit. If God created the Universe and we know that our time reference is related only to our solar system then we must admit that God is outside of the time element as we know it.

Peter sees this the same way. In verse 8 he says: But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. [NKJV, 2 Pe 3:8]

Therefore, we must be careful setting time markers for God's movement. Peter reminds us to focus on the prophets (of the Old Testament) and the apostles (in the New Testament). By doing so, we will see how God is working through mankind and His plan for eternity. Why haven't we seen the second coming yet? Because God is "not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance." [NKJV, 2 Pe 3:9]

As for the scoffers, I think Charles Spurgeon said it best in his 1857 sermon "Secret Sins" when he said:

When Christ comes a second time, there will be a marvelous change in the way men talk. Me thinks I see him; there he sits upon his throne. Now, Caiaphas, come and condemn him now! Judas! Come and kiss him now! What do you stick at man? Are you afraid of him? Now, Barabbas, go! See whether they prefer you to Christ now. Swearer, now is your time; you have been a bold man; curse him to his face now. Drunkard, stagger up to him now! Infidel, tell him to his face that there is no Christ now that the world is lit with lightning and the earth is shaken with thunder. Tell God there is no God now; now laugh at the Bible, now scoff at the minister. Why, men, what is the matter with you? Why can’t you do it? Ah! There you are: you have fled to the hills and to the rocks. ‘Rocks hide us! Mountains fall on us! Hide us from the face of him that sits on the throne.’ ‘Ah! Where are now your boasts, your vaunting, and your glories? Alas! Alas! For you in that dread day of wonders!’

Hope you have a wonderful day!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Temporal vs. Eternal

Col 3:2 Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.

How many times do we plan for the here and now? It is interesting to ask Christians the goals they are working toward. For example, some may say they want to be the president or CEO of a major international corporation. Some may want a house on the beach or a European sports car. Most people at least plan for a retirement where they can enjoy peace and security until they die. These things are great aspirations, however, it leads me to ask a question.

Do we sacrifice our faith to obtain those goals?

Please don't misunderstand my comments here. I am NOT saying that being the CEO of a company, having a nice house, having a nice car, or planning for retirement is wrong. What I am saying is we need to be checking our focus. Does that position at your job stand before God's will for your life? Does the desire to own that expensive sports car consume your thoughts and control your actions? Is your focus on the temporal?

Colossians tells us that we need to set our minds on things above rather than things here. Paul was not telling us to have a disdain of material things. We know that God created all and His work is good. However, when we let our (fleshly) desires take over it turns bad.

Paul is saying that what we gain here is only temporary and has no eternal benefit, however what we do for God is eternal. We forget that if we are fortunate we will walk this planet for 70+ years and then we will arrive into the eternal realm. When we finish our lives here we will not take anything with us. Nothing physical can go beyond the grave. So, in the time you have here are you building your treasures for rust and decay? Or, Christian, are you building your treasures for eternity? Think about the following: while on earth people invest large amounts of time and money into a retirement plan so when that time comes they can reap the rewards of their investments. Christian, we should be spending the 70+ years investing for eternity.

It is all about the temporal vs. the eternal. What are we doing that really matters?

In Christ,
Doug Johnson