In today’s sermon, given on the Second Sunday of Advent, Pastor Craig Kuhlman shows that human peace doesn’t come naturally, but from God.
Sermon Notes of Pastor Craig Kuhlman’s Sermon on December 10, 2017
“Transformed Living: Found in Peace Through Incarnation (2 Peter 3)”
Second Sunday of Advent – Peace
[In today’s sermon (Second Sunday of Advent), ” Transformed Living: Found in Peace Through Incarnation (2 Peter 3)”, Pastor Craig Kuhlman shows that human peace doesn’t come naturally, but from God.]
• Now all of us want to have more peace in our lives, right? • Peace is something we strive for. • In fact, there have been whole industries that have tried to manufacture peace. • Peace doesn’t come naturally, even though we so desire it.
• Peace it comes supernaturally from God. • It’s not the result of our doing but it’s the fruit of the Holy Spirit. • Peace comes out of our spiritual formation and through prayer.
• Now today, we going to continue our series on transformed living. • Today we’re going to look at what the apostle Peter had to say about peace.
2 Peter 3 (NASB): chapter summary
• Promise of Jesus’ Return and Our Response. • The Advent reflects Jesus’ second coming as we wait in anticipation of that event. • And our transformed living process is the way and the means of finding peace. • We find peace through the Incarnation of Jesus.
2 Peter 3 (NASB): text summary
• 3:1-2 – Importance of recall and purpose of the letter.
• 3:3-9 – Last days scoffers at the time of Jesus Christ’s return; He views time differently and wants no one to perish but all believe.
• 3:10-13 – Responding with a Godly life in light of the coming New Heaven and Earth.
• 3:14-18 – Final exhortation – as we are steadfast and growing in grace and knowledge – this leads us to peace.
2 Peter 3 (NASB): Peter’s first precept:
2 • The way to peace is to acknowledge that God’s word is truth. • Jesus is the One who makes peace possible.
2 Peter 3:1 This is now, beloved, the second letter I am writing to you in which I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder, 2) that you should remember the words spoken beforehand by the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior spoken by your apostles.
• God the Father sent His Son, Jesus, to come to this earth, so that He could look at us humans through Jesus as His beloved. • There’s no fear in that, there’s no shame, there’s no guilt, and there’s no doubt – that each one of us are seen as God’s beloved, no matter how we might feel. • Just that understanding alone brings a certain sense of peace with it. • So, no matter how much we screw up in our lives, we’re still beloved by God. • This is so amazing!
• Now, the way to “remember the words spoken by the prophets” is for us to constantly read Scripture. • We might consider the next step, which can be hard, is to memorize Scripture. • Take time to do this. • This will help God’s words flow through our thoughts. • Our conversation, our curiosity, and our contemplation of God’s word are ways that we are able to respond to the Holy Spirit so that we’re able to find God’s peace. • So, during this Advent season, let’s rededicate ourselves to the practice of studying Scripture and memorizing Scripture so that God’s word flows through our minds and hearts. • One of pastor Craig’s professors said in as a guest speaker at one of his college club meetings, “After reading Scriptures this morning, there was this sense of peace that flowed over me that I hadn’t experienced before.” • So, we find that when we are engaged in prayer and Bible study and meditation (conversation, curiosity, and contemplation) that the fruits of the Spirit flow through such as God’s peace .
2 Peter 3 (NASB): Peter’s second precept:
• God’s work is consistent.
• This was during a time, when scoffers were saying that Jesus would never return, because some expected Him to come back in glory in a few short years. • So, even though we may think Jesus has delayed His coming, we can rest in the fact that God’s timing is always perfect – both in the grand scheme of things and also his timing in each of our lives.
2 Peter 3 (NASB): text summary: 3:3-9 – Last days scoffers at the time of Jesus Christ’s return; He views time differently and wants no one to perish but all believe.
3) Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts, 4) and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation.”
3 • Now, today, we don’t see people today standing on a street corner soap box declaring this message. • But we can see this prevalent in the attitudes around us or in some of the music we hear. • Jesus isn’t necessarily a big part of the lives of most people. • Now there’s a statistic about millennials, who are from 18-35, that 67% will never, never step foot into a church.
• Now Christian life is experienced best when we are involved with a community of believers. • So the scoffers of today may not say that “Jesus delays His coming” but they can convey that thought and idea in other ways. • So we need to remind ourselves that God’s work is consistent, regardless of what the world tries to tell us.
5) For when they maintain this, it escapes their notice that by the word of God the heavens existed long ago and the earth was formed out of water and by water, 6) through which the world at that time was destroyed, being flooded with water. 7) But by His word the present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.
• Now this passage can bring a little discomfort, especially if we take it out of context. • We need to remember that each of us is beloved by the Father, Son and Spirit. • But, there is coming a time that this earth and the heavens around us will be consumed in fire in preparation for the “new heavens and the new earth.” • It also means that all of the human works that don’t lead to righteousness will be consumed, because Scripture promises us that there will be no unrighteousness in the Kingdom of Heaven.
• Just because God will destroy or wipe out works of unrighteousness doesn’t mean that He will wipe out those, who may in their ignorance, practice unrighteousness. • Pastor Craig believes that God’s consuming love and His consuming fire, as described in Hebrews, can reach us, in such a way, that our unrighteous works will be consumed. • We know that God is merciful to us and that those not-yet-believers will have an opportunity to come to Jesus after the resurrection.
8) But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day.
• Peter shows us that God’s time frame isn’t our time frame. • Today, in our society, there are success seminars like the one Tony Robbins has, where if you spend $4000 for his weekend seminar, your life can be completely changed. • Now consider this – God spent 80 years training Moses. • We need to consider this: God changes us in a crock pot not the microwave, that’s because a 1000 years is like a day to God. • It’s so natural for us to want things to happen instantaneously. • While God works slowly, He works consistently in our lives.
4 2 Peter 3 (NASB): Peter’s third precept:
• Third precept: God’s will is merciful. • Don’t we all want mercy? • But often we’re not as quick to extend mercy as we’d like to receive it. • Our normal natural response to people we don’t know, is less than merciful. • But over time, God is in the process of transforming us.
9) The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.
• God’s will for all humanity, His mercy for all of us is that we come to see and believe and receive and accept God’s salvation. • Out of our faith in the Father, Son and Spirit, our lives start to change and we extend more mercy, peace and love towards others – it starts slowly but it happens. • Peter tells us that God wants “all to come to repentance.”
2 Peter 3 (NASB): So, Peter’s fourth precept: It’s a call to repentance
• And what is repentance? Repentance is simply a change of mind. • In times past, we used to think that repentance was a long formula of doing various things. • But the meaning of the Greek word “metanoia” translated “repentance” means “a change of mind or a change of heart.”
• It’s a change from knowing who we are. • We are to come to the understanding that we are saved through the incarnation of Jesus and called to a higher life and to respond differently than we ever did before. • When we come to that understanding of who we are and whose we are and then live out that life based on God’s saving grace, then our lives take on that new transformed character.
• Repentance is not about beating ourselves up, but rather it’s recognizing that we need to participate in our new life given to us. • So, repentance is not just a onetime event but it’s an on-going process.
2 Peter 3 (NASB): text summary: 3:10-13 – Respond with a Godly life in light of the coming New Heaven and Earth.
10) But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up.
• So as we see, judgement is the process of burning up unrighteous works of the unrighteous, not the burning up of the unrighteous. • And Scripture tells us that God, in His consuming love, doesn’t want “any to perish.” • Now our denomination (GCI) doesn’t take a stand, one way or the other, on how God’s final judgment play’s out.
5 • Now we do believe that our Judge, who is Jesus Christ, is merciful and that He said that He came, not to condemn, but to save.
11) Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness,
• Peter is drawing us back to that transformed life and showing us how we should live in response to the mercy and blessings God has showed us. • This is the process of sanctification. • Even though we were declared righteous from the cross, and that’s the way God sees us, we know that our humanity still exists and how we live out our lives isn’t righteous all the time. • But God is in the process of changing us and transforming us to become more like the nature of Jesus.
• Living a righteous life doesn’t earn us salvation, but rather it’s a way of acknowledging our transformed life God is giving us. • It’s not easy to live a holy life, because it’s not natural. • Living a Godly life and exhibiting holy conduct is not natural. • As we said before, if we want more peace in our life, we can’t attain it by our own actions because it’s a supernatural thing.
• So we need to set aside our own will and yielding to the will of the Father, Son and Spirit and placing ourselves on that path of grace through prayer, through study, through meditation – then new things start to happen. • That’s the way to Godly life – not the Benjamin Franklin way doing 15 things out of our own human efforts. • We’ve tried that and it doesn’t work.
• We can’t fix ourselves, we can’t change ourselves, but the Holy Spirit can. • The Holy Spirit will transform our lives as we get out of the way and let Him do it.
12) looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat! 13) But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells.
2 Peter 3 (NASB): text summary: 3:14-18 – Final exhortation – be steadfast, grow in grace and knowledge.
2 Peter 3 (NASB): Peter’s fifth precept: A call to diligence which includes living, sharing, and growing in the gospel.
14) Therefore, beloved, since you look for these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless, 15) and regard the patience of our Lord as salvation; just as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him, wrote to you,
• Being found in peace, being spotless, being blameless comes as the result of Jesus’ incarnation – we can’t do any of that on our own.
6 16) as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction.
17) You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard so that you are not carried away by the error of unprincipled men and fall from your own steadfastness, 18) but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.
• So, how does peace come? – supernaturally. • And as we intentionally grow in grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and as we study and meditate on the Scriptures, then the Holy Spirit works through us and changes us. • So, as we’re growing in that grace and knowledge, do you know what’s happening? We’re developing that flourishing relationship with Jesus, we’re experiencing those fruits of the Spirit – love, joy, peace, self-control. • This is the process of transformation – both Paul and Peter are showing us that.
How are we found in peace? How do we anticipate peace?
• It begins with the understanding of Jesus’ nature and Incarnation.
• It also begins with repentance, which is turning our mind toward God.
• And finally being diligent. o It’s not something we work up, but rather yielding and surrendering to the Holy Spirit and letting God have His way through us to transform us.
Communion message given by elder Franklin Guice:
• Jesus desired so much to have these new symbols given to us – the cup symbolizing the New Testament and the bread symbolling His broken body. • What we do at Communion is duplicated in so many places around the world. We are truly a community of believers. • The apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 11 delivered Jesus’ message that there shouldn’t be any separation of ourselves from each other. • So you’re now invited to the Lord’s Table for the bread and the wine. • This shows that we are accepting Jesus’ sacrifice both for ourselves as individuals and that we also represent His body on earth which is increasing becoming one.