2 Peter 3 v 1 - 7

Peter gives here the reasons for the writing of his letters. It would also make a challenging goal for all preachers: to stimulate your wholesome thinking and refresh people's memories. When we partake of Communion, this is partly with this aim in mind and much of the Jewish religion was to look back in order not to make the same mistakes as one's ancestors and Paul's beautiful exhortation in his letter to the Philippians in chapter 4 v 8, ''Think about what is pure and good and holy''. We know, don't we, that we can let our minds drift, but we can train our minds and both Peter and Paul tell us to train our minds to think about what is good. We may be wondering what if anything penetrates our minds as we sit Sunday by Sunday listening to sermons. Before I became a minister I must have sat listening to thousands of sermons and I can barely tell you of two or three of them: but it is in the repetition that we learn and in the repetition that the Truth penetrates deep into our soul. Another characteristic of the heretics who were damaging the fellowships in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia to whom Peter writes was in their denial of the second coming of Jesus. Back then, less than fifty years after the death, resurrection and ascension of the Lord Jesus, there were those who denied that the world would ever change, that things would continue as they had always done forever more. Peter's response is to argue that this is not a stable world. He would have seen that in hearing of volcanoes, floods and pestilence: we know it because we are facing an ecological disaster of a magnitude never experienced before. He refers back to the story of the Flood and reminds his readers that, just as the earth was formed out of watery chaos (Genesis 1 v 2 and v 6), so the ancient world was destroyed by a mighty flood. As much of the world was once affected by flood, so the time will come when the earth is cleansed by fire. In Peter's mind would have been the prophecies of Joel -2 v 30-, Isaiah- 29 v 6, 30 v 30-, Nahum-1 v 5, 6- and Malachi- 4 v 1. The Stoic philosophers also understood this to be the coming way of destruction. Tomorrow we look at our future hope...

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