12/04/11 2 Peter 3:8-14
Leader: Pastor Biebert
Meeting Time: 8:00 AM & 10:15 AM
FROM MERCY TO MELTDOWN TO MILLENIUM
2 Peter 3:8-14
This current universe is not in our future. We look forward to a new universe where everything is perfect. We focus on Jesus. His reappearance will jumpstart our new lives in that new world. When will God destroy our universe? We don’t know. Our human concept of time means nothing to God, who created and controls time (Psalm 90:4). He could have created the entire universe in an instant. He preferred to do it over six days. He could have relocated Israel from Egypt in a instant. He preferred to invest 80 years training Moses. God uses time, but He doesn’t let time limit Him.
Why is Jesus not in a hurry to return and initiate the meltdown of the universe (3:9)?
God wants everyone to be saved. That’s not a decree. The Bible never says everyone’s going to heaven. In fact, it says the majority of people aren’t. It’s describing God’s passion. He loves everyone. He hates to lose anyone. He wants them all to be safe. He knows a lot will reject Him. To repent simply means “to change your mind and your way of living.” It’s not regret. That usually means being sorry I got caught. It’s not remorse. That’s simply hopelessness, a stepping stone to depression.
How does the Lord’s desire for “everyone to come to repentance” involve us (3:9)?
Jesus talked about the careful way a burglar plans (Matthew 24:43; Luke 12:39; Revelation 3:3; 16:15). So did Paul (1 Thessalonians 5:2-4).
What is the point of “the day of the Lord will come like a thief” (3:10)?
The word melt in 3:10 means “to disintegrate or dissolve.” It implies something breaking down into its basic elements. “Heaven and earth shall pass away,” Jesus said (Matthew 24:35). It won’t affect life in God’s home. “Heaven” in these sections means the universe.
4. Do you prefer the meltdown theory or the annihilation theory (3:12)? Why? Does it matter? Why?
Mark Jeske in the “People’s Bible” writes, “Sometimes Christians look at the church as a great place to hide until the second coming. They see the church as a refuge where we can get away from ungodly people. A better vision is to see the church as a place to be refreshed, healed, trained, and inspired, to glorify God in the world in word and deed.”
5. Toward what should the temporary nature of this world motivate us (3:11-12)? Why?
The fact that this world’s time is almost up should lead us to consciously detach from things and deliberately attach more securely to God. God isn’t just coming to take things away from us. We’ll enjoy a new universe. God will take what we have now and dismantle it, rebuild it, transform it, and make it completely new. It will be better than the original first world because we won’t have to face Satan’s antics or temptation.
6. How does it make a difference whether the end of the universe comes before we die or after we die (3:11-12)?
God tells us here to live “holy” (3:11) lives. The Bible uses “holy” to mean “different” or “separate.” Being different than our society is a tribute to Jesus and His sacrifice. It’s an honor to serve Jesus and people this way. Some translators suggest that instead of “speed” we translate “be eager for.” We aren’t going to change God’s time schedule.
How can a good, Christian example “speed” Jesus’ return (3:11-12)?
Before the development of the atom and hydrogen bomb it was hard to imagine fire that could destroy steel and almost any other substance. In an earlier letter Peter called Jesus “a Lamb without blemish and without spot” (1 Peter 1:19).
Isn’t “spotless, blameless” unreasonable (3:14)? What is God asking of us?
One foot in eternity. That’s how the Bible urges us to live. If you always remembered that Jesus could return any moment, how would it affect your thoughts, your attitudes, and your decisions? A free pass into eternity is what Jesus came to earn – for you. What a future!
1. If you were in charge of the world’s clock, would you slow it down or speed it up? Why?
What does Jesus’ first arrival have in common with His second arrival?
What would be on your “to do” list if you know Jesus would come in the next 24 hours?
How does this section connect to Mark 1:1-8? What’s the connection to Isaiah 40:1-11?