Sermon on 08/14/2022

KaB FKB Volker Aßmann

2 Peter 3

Confidence in the face of coming disasters

For this reason, we place even greater faith in the message of the prophets. Pay attention to what they wrote, for their words are like a light shining in a dark place until the day when Christ appears and His bright light shines in our hearts” (2 Peter 1:19) .
It is about the future expectation and thus about the hope of Christians.
Both were undermined and undermined by the false teachers because, as Gnostics, they spoke more of insight and knowledge than of the fact that Jesus actually came into our world and is actually coming again.
Anyone who belittles Jesus and His coming, or even talks people out of it, makes himself or other people the measure of all things and no longer counts on Jesus and thus on God.
This applies to the vicarious death of Jesus for us for the forgiveness of our sins and our salvation as well as the statement that Jesus is coming again as the LORD.
Both are denied, smiled at and ridiculed (3.3).
Remember that in the last days there will be scoffers who mock the truth and follow only their own desires. They say, “Jesus promised to come again, didn’t he? Where is HE? As far back as man can remember, everything has remained the same since the world was created.” (3:3+4)
Peter is concerned that we do not lose our bearings.
What makes it so difficult to stay focused and stay the course?
Peter writes of darkness. It is often very opaque and inscrutable in our world and in our lives.
We recently had a sermon series on the subject of fake news – it is tremendously difficult to judge what is valid and reliable in our multi-optional world with a bewildering number of voices around us. And some lies are proclaimed with conviction, sometimes the truth is ridiculed
And scary news spread much faster and more lastingly than voices that offer orientation and hope.
That was the case in many places during the 2 years of the pandemic, it is currently the case with the war in Ukraine. And there are already voices and warnings that the topic of gas shortages and energy security will again be used by people in autumn and winter to unsettle many and not to give clear messages orientation. And certainly no confidence and hope is spread. Unfortunately, Christians and churches are sometimes no different.
And the topic of “climate catastrophe” also has what it takes to become a seductive religion and ideology. On the one hand there are those who say that mankind will wipe itself out and that rising sea levels will flood the earth, and on the other hand there are those who completely reject human-made climate change.
What is it now?
The issues at Peter’s time were different, but at least as threatening in terms of the potential for deception and fear:
Jesus had promised to come again as the Lord, and many first-century Christians fully expected to see that happen. But now many had already died and their hope and expectation had not been fulfilled.
And the people of the “Fakenews” faction cannot say it loud and often enough: Where is your Jesus?
Nothing that you believed to be true happened.
You bet on the wrong “horse”, forget your hope – it’s a >fake news< (3,4)
This makes people disoriented and desperate like in the darkness of a starless night or in the impenetrable fog.
What do we do in such situations? Where is a lighthouse or a guiding star in the sky?
Do we let ourselves be infected by the panic, panic buying and stocking up on survival things? Do we also spread panic and hopelessness ourselves and infect others with it?


1. Remind and affirm that God’s Word is valid (3:1-4)

For this reason, we place even greater faith in the message of the prophets. Pay attention to what they wrote, for their words are like a light shining in a dark place until the day when Christ appears and His bright light shines in our hearts” (2 Peter 1:19) .
This is my second letter to you, dear friends, and in both I have attempted to refresh your memory and thereby help you to adopt a healthy attitude.
I want you to remember and understand what the holy prophets said long ago and what our LORD and Savior announced to you through your apostles.” (3:1+2)
Peter’s answer to the many and false voices is:
Stay awake and keep the truth awake in you!
Have a healthy attitude!
Get the situation right!
Orientate yourself by the light!
Peter is obviously not writing anything new here, but is talking about the well-known and still relevant.
Precisely because the critics then, as now, question the truth, question God’s word, the answer is: remember and make it firm in your heads and hearts what was and what is valid – God’s word!
The scoffers and false voices are tearing up the truth of the Bible and destroying people’s trust in it, right down to the ranks of Christians. Because the people against whom Peter writes are in the midst of the communities and do their work of destruction and deception there. And that alongside all the other voices outside the church.


2. God’s word created and sustains the world (3:5-7)

Peter exposes the people who spread false teachings, fake news and ridicule. They want to destroy Christians in their trust in Jesus and, like other people, plunge them into disorientation and hopelessness:
“If they say that, they don’t see…” (3:5)
You have no perspective!
Ever since the creation of the world, people have seen the earth and the heavens and all that God created, and they can clearly recognize Him, the invisible God, in His eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.
Although they knew of God, they did not want to worship Him as God or thank Him.
Instead, they began to have nonsensical ideas about God, and their minds grew dark and confused.”
Those who think they are so clever are in truth (they reject that word) clueless, they grope in the dark, have no idea, know nothing, have confused thoughts and at some point can no longer think clearly. Only they don’t notice anymore.
What Peter reminds is God’s reliable and valid Word:
…they do not see that by His Word God created the heavens and caused the earth to come out of the water and surrounded it with water. Through His Word , God flooded the world of that time with water and destroyed it.
And God commanded by the same word that this heaven and this earth shall stand until the Day of Judgment.
Then they will be consumed by fire and the wicked will perish.” (3:5-7)
Peter writes three times in these 2 verses of God’s Word, through which HE acts and works.
God is the Mighty One, to whose power and strength there are no limits. And what HE says is valid and will become reality – for sure!
HE is the creator of the world, the creator of all that is.
HE is the sustainer of the world and of people up to the point in time that HE set for it.
HE is the judge of all and everything that despises and does not honor HIM.
Let’s look into our world: Yes, we have the potential to eradicate ourselves. We’ll melt the last glacier
Yes, we are about to destroy our planet and our world.
But God also sets the time for this and does not leave it to us humans.
Humans have invented and built and even thrown atomic bombs.
People wage insane and senseless wars and destroy millions of human lives.
People destroy food to keep prices high while others starve.
People take the right to life from unborn people and kill them.
People destroy their own livelihood.
And very often egoism, envy and lack of love are the reasons for this.
And disorientation.
Yes, I am convinced that we Christians should be leaders and role models in protecting the creation that God has entrusted to us.
But one of the most nonsensical and hopeless statements people make today, to me, is: ‘We can’t put new people into this world because of the carbon footprint. Because children fart .<
Nonsense! Yes, they fart, but we really have much, much bigger problems.
Yes, we must change our behavior, but we must not make a religion out of it.
But if you no longer recognize God as God, you can at some point only spout nonsense and madness. If it weren’t so sad, it would be grounds for mockery.
Every rainbow in the sky is a reminder that God will not again destroy this world with water. There will be summer and winter, sowing and harvest, as long as God wants it and provides it.
But that doesn’t mean the world we know won’t perish and be destroyed – more on that later!


3. God’s power and sovereignty and love (3:8-10)

Some say that God will not intervene and act at all because he does not exist, or at least he is powerless.
Others speak of a cruel god with tremendous potential for destruction.
But the truth , yes the truth is:
God has the world and simply everything in His hands, always and forever!
And God’s heart is full of love and faithfulness and patience, and justice too!
Peter punishes the false teachers and spreaders of fake news within the church (and also outside) of ignorance and cluelessness.

No, God is not a harmless, deaf and blind grandfather who simply doesn’t act because he doesn’t notice and can’t do anything!
“You should know, dear friends, that a day is like a thousand years to the LORD, and a thousand years like a day.
But it is not that the Lord is delaying His promised return, as some think.
No, HE waits because HE is patient with us. For HE does not want that even one person perishes, but that all repent and turn to HIM.
But the LORD will come as unexpectedly as a thief.
Then the heavens will melt away with a terrible noise, and everything will be consumed in flames, and the earth will be gone with all that is on it.” (3:8-10)
Peter says to the scoffers and seducers: Jesus has not yet come back so that as many as possible, preferably everyone, should repent, do penance and believe and trust God’s word.
No, it is not ignorance or impotence that is the cause of God’s awaiting judgment upon all who do not trust Him, but love.
God wants everyone to be saved and to know the truth. For there is only one God and only one mediator between God and man: that is Christ Jesus, who became man.
HE gave His life to ransom (save) all people. This is the message that God gave to the world when the time came.” (1 Timothy 2:4-6)
God’s plan is salvation for mankind, not their destruction and judgment.
That’s why HE is waiting. That is why His church is still here on earth to invite people to turn to God, confess their guilt and have forgiveness and eternal life with God.
That’s why we formulated it in our church vision like this:
>We are a community in which as many people as possible get to know Jesus and follow HIM together.<
We are part of God’s heart and His mission: to save people.
Because God loves us humans.

But even there Peter is as clear as at Pentecost:

“Turn away from your sins and turn to God.” (Acts 2:38)

To be saved and live forever with God and in His New World, we must repent and repent, believe and trust Him and His Word.
No, not everything will be alright for everyone: Peter speaks clearly of a specific day, which is absolutely certain, when God will exercise judgment on all who do not want to trust HIM.
And on that day our whole world will perish in fire.
However, God’s plan and goal is not the destruction of the world, which will probably happen, but the new creation (Is.66,22 and Rev.21-22) and the fellowship between the one God and all people who trust Jesus.
His final word is not just judgment on all who have rebelled against and rejected Him, but love. And so, on that day, HE creates a perfect, wonderful new world for everyone who has trusted HIM.
In Isaiah 66:22, God promises to create a new heaven and a new earth:
“As sure as the new heaven and the new earth that I am creating will stand before me, so sure will your descendants and your name stand have,” says the LORD.
And so ends the last book of the Bible: “Then I saw new heavens and a new earth, for the old heavens and the old earth had disappeared…And God himself will be with them” (Revelation 21:1+ 3)
That’s our hope and our goal – that’s what we’re definitely going for, not chaos.
That is the hope of the beleaguered church in the first century and to this day.


4. Stay awake! ( 3:11-18)

But if everything around us is going to dissolve in this way, how much more should you live a life that is holy and honors God! You should expect and yearn for that day – the day when God sets the heavens on fire and the elements melt in the flames.
We await the new heavens and the new earth that HE has promised. God’s justice will reign there. (3:11-13)
Again it is about the validity of God’s words – HE will keep and fulfill what HE has said and promised.
And Peter wants to wake up the Christians and keep them awake, to live towards this wonderful goal and not to be irritated by the fake news and thrown off course.
And because we are approaching God’s world, where justice really reigns, we Christians should let God’s Spirit transform us into a life that becomes more and more like Jesus – the Bible calls this sanctification.
We should give people a longing in their hearts for this world of God and honor God, who loves us so infinitely.
What can we do to stay on track with and after Jesus?
The better we know Jesus, the less attractive we will find false teachings and the people who spread them.
Getting to know Jesus (and His Word) better and better is the best way to see through heresies.
Peter ends like this:
“I warn you in time, dear friends, that you may be alert and not carried away by the errors of these lawless people.
I don’t want you to lose your secure footing. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our LORD and SAVIOR JESUS CHRIST!
It is quite certain:
Jesus Christ is and remains the LORD over all and everything.
And therefore and only in this are we Christians safe and have an absolutely secure future – with Jesus.