NT Fire Starters – Day 331: 2 Peter 3:1-18
READ: 2 Peter 3:1-18
THINK: Many people today think that the highest and noblest cause a person can be involved in is to “save the earth.” While efforts to protect the environment and make better use of natural resources are usually well-intended and beneficial, there are higher priorities. That’s because no matter how much effort we put into preserving the planet, it’s already destined for destruction. Many people are at least vaguely aware that God’s Word prophesies an end to the world as we know it, but they don’t give it any thought because they don’t recognize the signs of the “last days.” Even church-goers have become complacent about Christ’s return. They’ve heard about it for as long as they can remember, yet things go on as usual, generation after generation. It’s easy to forget that God’s timetable and perspective are far different from ours. But one thing He makes very clear is the reason for the delay: He’s giving more people time to entrust their lives to Him. As followers of Jesus, our mission must be to reach others with His message of forgiveness and new life. Saving souls is infinitely more important than saving the earth. So make people your priority, because when this planet has passed away, the people who inhabited it will be somewhere for eternity.
RESPOND: Peter wrote both of his letters (1 & 2 Peter) to stimulate what kind of thinking? What warning did Peter give regarding the last days before Christ returns (v. 3)? What will the “scoffers” say and do? (See 3:4 note.) What doubts will they raise, and why is this attitude so dangerous? What does it mean that “the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire”? (See 3:7 note.) What are the implications of this phrase: “With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day”? (See 3:8 note.) What’s the main reason why Christ has not yet fulfilled His promise to return? (See 3:9 note.) How should this inspire and motivate Jesus’ followers? What is “the day of the Lord” (v. 10) and how will it arrive? (See 3:10 note.) What will ultimately happen to the earth as we know it? In light of this fact, how should we live as we wait for Jesus’ return? (See 3:11 note.) In regard to “the day of God,” how can His people “speed its coming”? (See 3:12 note.) In light of what will happen to the present heavens and earth, what can God’s people look forward to (v. 13)? (See Revelation 21.) How did Peter regard Paul’s letters (other New Testament books)? (See 3:16 note.) What did Peter warn that “ignorant and unstable people” would do to the writings of Scripture (v. 16)? How can this warning help you in the deceptive days ahead (vv. 17-18)?
PRAY: Ask God to help you keep your thoughts pure and wholesome. Pray that you will not be swayed by doubts regarding Jesus’ return. Give God thanks for being patient and for providing more time for people to turn to Him. Ask Him to help you use that time to influence as many people as possible to come to know Jesus.
ACT: Make every effort today to put time and resources into things that will last beyond this world–things with eternal significance. Instead of spending money on perishable or material things, set it aside for a missions offering. Take time to help others or to prepare for a ministry you’re involved in. Above all, look for ways to influence others for Christ through conversations or service. Don’t be afraid to ask people if you can pray for them in person.