Monday, February 5, 2024

          We often encounter “warning signs” in life.  We are warned about roadwork ahead.  We are warned not to mix medications.  We are warned about storms and high winds.  We are warned about mechanical problems when our cars are inspected.  Warnings can often be valuable and even life-saving.  Much of what we read in 1 and 2 Peter can be characterized as a warning—admonitions about life, faith and the best ways to move forward in our relationship with the Lord.  Walking with Christ each day is not always easy.  There are headwinds and obstacles that we have to face.  Peter chose to end his second letter with some final warnings for his readers.  These warnings remain relevant today.  In his own words, Peter wrote, “Therefore, dear friends, since you have been forewarned, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of the lawless and fall from your secure position. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen” (2 Peter 3:17-18).  Our faith can often be tested and even challenged.  We can easily be deceived by things we read or hear.  We want to hold to the things that are right, good and true.  And Peter shows us how to do just that. 
            First, Peter addressed his message to “dear friends.”  That salutation lets us know that he wrote to believers—to members of God’s family who belong to Christ.  These words are for those who are ‘in Christ.”  His words, originally intended for first century believers, still resonate and ring true for us today.  We can take Peter’s words to heart.  Both of the apostle’s letters were intended for followers of Christ.  God always has a word for us in our time of need.  His word is never too early or too late.  He hears and answers us at the right time.  The good news is we can always return to Peter’s letters whenever we wish.  They have been preserved for us forever in written form.  One reason we want to read the Bible consistently is to have the words God wants us to know when we need them. 
            Second, Peter tells us to be on guard.  That admonition sounds like a warning that he offered to us earlier.  You may recall this warning from the apostle, “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8).  We do have an enemy and this enemy would like to mislead us and deceive us.  He would like to bait us with ideas, approaches and ways that seem so easy and enticing.  Remember how disarming the serpent was when he approached Eve in the Garden.  The enemy does come at us again and again today.  He can be relentless in his efforts and almost velvety smooth in what he offers to us.  We stay on guard by reading and studying the Bible, praying faithfully, worshipping and growing in our faith each day.  We can recognize the enemy and his ways when we are growing in truth and grace.
            Third, we need to stay watchful and humble.  We can easily fall.  We could give into temptation and the enemy’s misinformation.  We trust in the Lord’s strength and power to overcome our weaknesses.  Remember the words of Paul, “That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:10).  The stronger we are in Christ means the stronger we are in life.  We want our power and stability to come from Him.  Christ is our foundation and the Bible says, “For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 3:11).  The expression “carried away” means to be misled or deceived or to be taken to a strange place.  Peter is warning us not to allow ourselves to be beguiled by voices and messages that seem at odds with the truth of Christ.  If something sounds wrong, then it probably is wrong just about every time we confront it.
            Fourth, we find a command.  “Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”  We are not to stay the same or remain stagnant.  We are to be growing in our faith and our relationship with Christ.  The easiest thing to do is, well, nothing.  Just staying the same will leave us the same.  Staying the same costs nothing and demands the same.  To grow in Christ requires commitment, passion, dedication and a zeal to know and walk with Him.  Growing takes some work and some energy but the results are beyond anything you could imagine or expect.  Growing in Christ and in your faith is a proactive way to stay on guard and remain fully aware of the enemy’s ways and schemes.
            Peter ended his second letter with the words “to Him be glory both now and forever.”  Those words can be your life’s motto or mission.  Bring glory to Him by your words, choices, decisions and actions.  Eternity will be about the forever glory of our Lord and Savior.  We can get a jump on eternity here and now by making His glory the heartbeat of our days and lives.  Worthy is the Lamb!  And to all glory be Him.  Make today a day of giving glory to the One who lives and reigns forever!  Remember you can share our worship any time at YouTube.Com/FirstBaptistKannapolis.  Have a great Monday! 

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