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October 30, 2016

"THE LONGSUFFERING OF THE LORD"

TEXT: 2 Peter 3: 1-13
READING:
 Psalm 50: 1-23

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SUBJ: The faithfulness of God in all He has promised and revealed concerning His will and the effect that it should have on all who love His appearing. This is contrasted with the contempt of the scoffers.

AIM: That we should give thanks for the longsuffering of God and rejoice with Him that the day of the Lord will certainly come in accordance with the anticipation He has enabled in us.

INTR: Peter’s concern that the Lord’s people always be in a way of remembrance continues to the end of this epistle and he reiterates encouraging revelations from the scriptures.
1. He specifically called their (our) attention to the words of those inspired of God to write the truth as it is in Christ our Lord and included both prophets and apostles.
2. Certainly, the second coming of Christ creates a lot of excitement and sensationalism among many who engage in speculative approaches to the Scripture.
3. We, who love the Lord, have a vested interest in His future operations in that we have an identity with Him, but we would confine our definitions to the expressions of His will, future events and the realizations of His promise as it is expressed in Scripture – not in the systems of men.

THESIS: The Lord does not lay aside His essential character of kindness and longsuffering towards men as He executes the matters of His sovereign grace. The longsuffering of God, while specifically directed in the interest of the elect, provides ample space for the repentance of all. It is His grace that assures the salvation of His people and the freewill of the rest that determines their damnation in the end.

I. The Scoffers and what they miss (vv. 1-7)
1. Peter’s first order of business is to shore up the minds of his people against the onslaught of blasphemous scoffing that had already begun and of which the Lord had warned.
1) They were directed to the Word of God both Old Testament and New Testament
2) And that our focus is to Our Lord and Savior.
3) So, the certainty of their coming is in keeping with the opposition of Satan historically displayed. (v. 3)
2. The seeds of doubt and the reason of them.
1) Any approach they have is in the context of their own lusts; that is, they place themselves at the center of all they believe and do and reject anything that threatens their idea of self-sovereignty.
2) They think themselves to be on solid ground by pointing to elapsed time with no perceptible changes.
3) They proceed in the worst kind of ignorance (willful) to reject all that is revealed pertaining to what is to come.
i. Here Peter refers to creation – the original creation was all under water and the land was made to appear by the Word of God.
ii. That it was the Lord that brought the flood after an extended period of time upon unbelievers and scoffers such as we now have.
3. The sureness of the Word is seen in
1) The heavens and the earth as we see them are kept that way by the same Word and
2) At the appointed time, in accordance with that Word, that for which they are kept shall come to pass – the judgment of ungodly men!

II. The purpose of God toward the beloved (vv. 8-9)
1. We are made aware of the eternal existence of God in that He does not measure time as we, but comprehends them all as if they have already occurred.
1) Thinking in that way we may think that only a few days have passed since the writing of these things and it will all seem that way to us in the future.
2) This, again, points us to the greatness of our God and the vastness of His influence and the capabilities that we cannot see.
2. There is no slackness or delay with God and especially regarding His promises:
1) What He has promised is essential to His purpose in every way and
2) The timeliness of those things is as critical as the promise itself. This we witness often in the Word (For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry. Hebrews 10:37).
3. It is with the above in mind that we understand the “Longsuffering of the Lord.”
1) I am personally grateful that the Lord did not come before 1963 or I would have been lost.
2) The delay of the Lord is not that at all, but the time appointed for the carrying out of His purpose.
3) Remember here: All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. John 6:37. And:
4) And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd. John 10:16.
4. The last phrase of this passage is in harmony with what Has gone before. Thus, we must note:
1) The “usward” here is referring to the “you” of verses 1 & 2 and the “beloved” of verse 8.
2) It may or may not address the fact that the space for repentance is given to all and it is not the Lord’s will that they perish (Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel? Ezekiel 33:11).
3) It is assurance to those who love Him and condemnation to the scoffers.

III. The Day of the Lord and us (vv. 10-13)
1. It will come and it will be unannounced
2. It will be devastating beyond anything that we might imagine
3. A total conflagration is herein assured!
4. Such knowledge is reflected in the lives and demeanor of the Lord’s people
5. The Lord’s people look for and desire it in that they see the glory of God and the vindication of all things He has done and the consummation and final victory of Christ our Lord.
6. We then are bound look to Him in whom all the promises of God are yea and Amen!
7. And rejoice that our eternity shall be in a place of pure righteousness – New Heavens and New Earth.