2 Peter 1-3

Merry Christmas!     Peter is writing to us!  Think of it…that great Apostle who walked with Jesus, walked on water, walked away…and then was restored.   The one who saw Christ transfigured, saw him crucified and then resurrected….and watched Him ascend into heaven.    That great man of God is speaking to us directly.
Read 2 Peter 1-3
And how does he begin his comments to the church?   With a celebration of God’s unlimited blessings!   In Christ, there is always “more and more” grace, peace and knowledge.   I heard a bishop say once “no matter how much you have experienced in Christ, there is always more”   There is always more grace, there is always more peace….and we can always grow deeper in our relationship.    God always has more…and more and more.
Everything we need has already been given.   This verse is provocative.  I mean, if we already have been given what we need, then what’s holding us back?  Why don’t we see more holiness?    I think “everything we need” means “the Holy Spirit” who is everything that we need….but we fail to be completely surrendered to God the Holy Spirit, and because of that we fall short.
It starts with faith and ends with love.   I wonder how many times we try and live the christian life but have the sequence out of order?   Does it have to be in this order?   Faith certainly has to come first, but does love have to be last?  Or is love what all other efforts eventually turn into?
1:9 “fail to develop”   I think of it as a “failure to launch”.   Christians who go to church and agree with everything that is taught, but don’t model it in all areas of their lives.   They are holy in church and pagan at work.  They both pray and curse, depending on their surroundings.   Their eyes haven’t been sanctified, and neither have their thoughts…which occasionally peeks out through their comments and actions.     They have unhealthy appetites, even if they can find isolated verses in scripture to excuse them from being holy.     They may be afraid of suffering.   Rejection is a form of suffering, and many Christians are afraid to be rejected.   We want to remain friends with the world and God at the same time.    I admit that there is a way to stay in contact with both, but we cannot pledge allegiance to both.    Either our worldly friends or our Savior is going to take second chair….those who fail to launch put Christ one chair back.
False teachers twist the truth, leaving just enough of the Word in their message to make it sound legitimate and compelling.    In Chapter 2 Peter highlights that God will punish all those who do wrong.  That includes anyone who does wrong…even angels.   God is fair above all things, and we shouldn’t think that we are going to get away with sinning.   God isn’t going to “blink” at any of our sins….and since we have already been given everything we need…we have no excuse if we keep on sinning intentionally.
   I think he directs this thought at false teachers, but then broadens it to those who listen to their message.   I wonder if the comment about being “especially hard on those who engage in twisted sexual desires” is a reference to homosexuality?   Adultery is clearly wrong, but is it a twisted desire?   I suppose desiring anything that you cannot (or should not) have could be considered “twisted”.
Someone told me once that God judges sexual sin more harshly, because it is a sin against our own body.
2:19 you are a slave to whatever controls you.  This includes our mind, which can be tempted to distraction.  Actually the mind may be the key to this whole teaching.   Peter will say that some folks are committing adultery “with their eyes”, thinking about it but not acting on it.   There is no human law against that, but God forbids it.   God knows that all sin begins in the mind, in our thoughts.   The first battlefield is in the mind.   That’s one thing that Joyce Meyers got right.
2:21  How would it be better to have never know the way of life than to have known it and abandoned it?   Consider it like vision.   Some might say that it’s better to have never had sight than to have had it and lost it.   Or a spouse, or a child.  Better to have not experienced that deep bond than to experience and lose it.  (Now, eventually we all suffer loss of people close to us.  I’m thinking here of “pre-mature” loss).   Loss is a sharp feeling and cuts into us.  And if you’ve never had something, you can’t lose it.
In another way, to have experienced Christ and then turn your back on Him is doubly dangerous.  You will experience loss, but you are also desensitized slightly to asking for forgiveness and being restored.
Christ will certainly return, but time passes differently in heaven than it does on earth.  In fact, in heaven there is no time…so those who died 1,000 years ago feel like they just arrived.  No one in heaven is impatient or in a hurry, and no one is lagging behind.   Time doesn’t exist there.   Since that is the case, God cannot be “slow” in keeping His promise to return.   Again we are warned against false teachers here.  Some are saying that God won’t return, since He hasn’t done so already.  Others are twisting the words of Paul to mean things that Apostle never meant them to convey.  
I’d better trim my time back slightly this morning.  Soon there will be children (and adults) running all over the house wanting to open presents.   I think I’ll enjoy these last few quiet moments before that happens.   Outside, the snow is gently falling and so far, there isn’t any evidence that anyone else is awake.   I’m going to “store up” some of this peace and then use it later in the day…