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This Week's Teaching: "God's Beautiful Creation is Reserved for Fire?! "
This is crazy.
We're here in the Badlands in South Dakota and just experiencing this absolute beauty. We're boondocking and we've been spending the last few days here. I feel in awe that we would be so blessed to be able to do it. And I realize that there's favor in that and there's privilege in that. And everything.
But this morning I had an interesting interaction with it. I sat out here looking at the view behind me. And I'm reading in Second Peter right now. I can't get past first and second Peter. It shows up in my teachings and in my reflections, even if I don't name it specifically.
I believe that it has something for these times. We need to be paying special attention to the message that Peter wrote a long time ago. It applies to us today.
Now here's the tension that second Peter will cause you. Chapter two talks about false teachers. And I think it's good to spend time there. Let's not be so quick to just divide the church around like ticky tack fouls and differences of opinion that we call false doctrine or false teaching. But let's also not shy away from calling out what Peter calls "depraved conduct" and people who are led by greed and they "love the wages of wickedness" and all that. I'll let you read second Peter two. Actually read first Peter and second Peter.
I'm gonna read second Peter three. I'm just gonna read it and with this as the backdrop, pay attention to when it causes you tension.
"Dear friends, this is now my second letter to you. I have written both of them as reminders to stimulate you to wholesome thinking. I want you to recall the words spoken in the past by the holy prophets and the command given by our Lord and Savior through your apostles.
Above all, you must understand that in the last days, scoffers will come scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, "Where is this coming he promised? Ever since our ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation." But they deliberately forget that long ago by God's word, the heavens came into being and the earth was formed out of water and by water. By these waters, also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.
But do not forget this one thing, dear friends. With the Lord, a day is like a thousand years and a thousand years or like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise as some understand slowness. Instead, he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar. The elements will be destroyed by fire and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare.
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 its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat.
But in keeping with his promise, we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth where righteousness dwells. So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless, and at peace with him. Bear in mind that our Lord's patience means salvation...
Therefore , dear friends, since you have been forewarned, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of the lawless and fall from your secure position. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, to him be glory both now and forever. Amen."
Here's the tension this creates for me. Behind me is just this demonstration of God's creative majesty, of the beauty. It's incredible. And yet when God looks on the sinfulness of mankind and on the waywardness of all creation -- he designed it for one purpose and it's gone astray -- he looks at the beauty behind me and he says, I'm going to bring judgment. I'm gonna cause all of that to burn up in the judgment as I execute my wrath and my judgment; my final judgment on all of creation.
If God is willing to destroy the beauty behind me, it must pale in comparison to the beauty of holiness and righteousness, and the new heavens and the new earth that he's preparing. Everything beautiful that we find in this creation -- that we're tempted to worship, to bow down to, to devote ourselves to -- everything that's confined to this creation that grows up out of the ground, that springs up from our ambitions and all that, all the things that we're tempted to devote our lives to pale in comparison to the holiness and righteousness of the new heavens and the new earth that he's preparing for us.
And so I want to encourage you read First Peter and second Peter. Devote yourself to it these days. Just keep on studying it, chewing on it. Don't try to get through it, like do a once through, but then go back and just chew on things and you'll read things like, "God has given us everything we need for a godly life." He's called us and given us the ability to "participate in the divine nature." He calls us to "make every effort to add to our faith goodness, and to goodness knowledge, and to knowledge self control" and these things. And he talks about, suffering, and things that will put the hardships and the beauties in perspective for you.
My prayer is that it puts it in perspective for you as it has for me. And so this is my message this week. Just an encouragement to read first Peter and second Peter. Turn off YouTube. Yeah, press like and follow and all that stuff. But then turn off YouTube, open your Bible, and spend time chewing on it.