CLS 2 Peter 3_15-16 Tough Texts
- Have you ever wondered why an awesome and loving God would give us his Word…
- And have it contain both very simple and easy things to understand…
- And absolutely complex thoughts
- The imagery in Revelations
- The tough theology in Romans 8
- You would imagine… it would be completely readable or not…
- But there is an incredible sense of balance… simple enough to believe… deep enough to dive in.
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, 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.
- Funny as your kids grow up….
- They begin to push their responsibility…
- Boys begin to us their size and strength… new testosterone….
- They begin to think that they can take on Dad…
- Dad’s as you may or may not know have sworn to be bigger, stronger and smarter… at least until they leave the house….
- As believers we sometimes we forget that we are the children and want to test our Father’s limits… figure we know it all… figure we can go it alone….
- Tough texts are one way God reminds us of our need for him…
- Desperartion… Supplication… Cognitive Pursuit… and Education lead us to better understand the nature… of Simply complex God and His Word
- Utter dependence on God
- 22 For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
- The natural person… all of us apart from the Holy spirit… should feel utter desperation when confronted with the Word of God.
- We need God’s help!
- The same is true for us spiritually renewed… fallible… finite followers… when it comes to difficult texts…
- I should feel a desperation… a desperate dependence on God…
- And he likes it that way! That is what God wants to feel.
- That is something He has unleashed by inspiring difficult texts.
- Prayer to God for Help
- This follows from desperation…
- If you feel dependant on God and His Spirit to reveal the truth of a text… you will cry out for help!
- This is evident in… Psalm 119:18 Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law.
- Psalm 119:12 Blessed are you, O Lord; teach me your statutes!
- 26 When I told of my ways, you answered me; teach me your statutes!
- Psalm 119:64 The earth is full of Your lovingkindness, O LORD; Teach me Your statutes.
- Psalm 119:68 You are good and do good; Teach me Your statutes.
- Psalm 119:124 Deal with Your servant according to Your lovingkindness And teach me Your statutes.
- Psalm 119:135 Make Your face shine upon Your servant, And teach me Your statutes.
- Psalm 119:171 Let my lips utter praise, For You teach me Your statutes.
- Help dear Lord to understand…
- Supplication Prayer to God for Help
- Thinking Hard about Biblical texts
- Because we are desperate and praying doesn’t mean we disengage our brain… exactly the opposite… we are one of the tools God uses!
- We are not to play dumb…
- Acts 17:10 The brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. 11 Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so.
- Recognized for their thinking…
- A positive… testing the Word.
- What does Paul… say about the Word
- 2 Timothy 2:7 Consider what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything.
- Are considering, or thinking…. Separate from praying?
- We are not looking for some esoteric meaning to float into our mind… we are expected to be Berean… Passionately Berean…
Cognitive Pursuit which leads to…
- The value of the Word… our dependency on it… its sufficiency… should motivate us not only to think about it… but motivate us to learn best how to study it!
- An important role of Timothy was to become educated and educate others… 2 Timothy 2:2 The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.
- 2 Timothy 1:5… Spiritual heritage… Lois and Eunice…
- It starts at home!
- And is cultivated by the body… that’s body life!
- Not just about potlucks… it is about growing in our understanding of God as revealed in his Word and passing it on.
- That is how the whole university system began… Christians teaching Christians to read and study so that they would be well equipped to handle the Word of God.
- Christian faith is the parent of modern education principles…
- Where ever Christianity goes, the bible goes… the need to promote translating sciences goes… literacy goes!
- As believers congregate and churches are born… so are schools….
- And because the study of God, including hard texts, is a deep learning discipline… post-secondary institutions are born
- Then authors are born…. To support the learning and promote scholarship (every major Christian publisher bought out…. Why… Christians read and write prolifically
- Printing was born to satisfy the need to get the Word into people’s hands
- And the sciences of preservation… and archiving… and museums…
- We are committed to learning!
- And more than a little of that has to do with the balance of simplicity and complexity within the Word.
- (Who wants to be a Millionaire… easy and hard)
- That leads us to the last point…
Education – the balance between simple and complex
God is Love… God is God
God is love… wants to simply disclose himself to us
- 1 John 4:8 The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love.
- 1 John 4:16 We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.
God is God… is magnificent, unique and holy…. Complex
- Isaiah 45:22 "Turn to Me and be saved, all the ends of the earth; For I am God, and there is no other.
- Isaiah 46:9 "Remember the former things long past, For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like Me,
God is love avails himself to us in simplicity
God is God transcends us in complexity
God is love reminds us of his accessibility
God is God reminds us He is profound
God is love reminds us of the basics…. Acts 16:31 They said, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household."
God is God reminds of us of the depths… Acts 20:27 "For I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole purpose of God.
God is love impels us to be sure to get the truth to all people
God is God impels us to be sure that what we say of God is truth!
God is love fuels our desire for fellowship
God is God fuels our desire for scholarship
God is love stretches us to be evangelists
God is God forces us to contemplative
God is not an irreconcilable dichotomy…
God is complex and simple because He is communicating his unique nature to us… and we must hold that view of God our we have diminished who He really is… and have greyed the truth…
- We need to approach the text of scripture with zeal and desperation…
- We should pray and seek wisdom as if we expected to receive it!
- We should engage the word with all of our body, mind, soul… think about it… ponder… consider… discuss…. (Small groups…)
- We should intention educate… and be educated
For the message of God is simple enough for a child to believe… a taste
And complex enough to fill our every waking hour with the exploration of its depth…
We are to spend a lifetime searching and exploring, get to know the one we have committed to glorify for eternity.