The service will also include believer’s baptism where upon profession of faith Jan Smith, Barbara Reed and Maria Vieira will be baptised.
“The end of the world is near” is a phrase beloved of Sandwich board carriers. How near? No one knows; but the world as we know it will end one day, and according to the Bible it will be when Jesus Christ returns to judge the living and the dead and to inaugurate the new heaven and the new earth (Isaiah 65 v 1 & Revelation 21 v 1.) In the light of such momentous cosmic events Peter presents his readers and all believers since with a challenge – “What kind of people ought you to be?” (v 11.) He then answers his own question by offering three suggestions:-
1 – A Godly People (v 11 – 14.)
The return of Jesus and the new creation are to be looked forward to with a sense of eager expectation (Luke 3 v 15 & Acts 3 v 5.) But the future needs to affect the present in terms of moral behaviour, with God’s people being:-
HOLY – having been set apart to be different from those around them (1 Peter 1 v 15.)
GODLY – living a life that is pleasing to God out of reverence for him (Titus 2 v 11 – 13.)
SPOTLESS – minus any moral blemishes (1 Peter 1 v 19.)
BLAMELESS – having nothing to be ashamed of when they stand before Jesus Christ (1 Thessalonians 3 v 13.)
Such patient waiting for the Lord’s return and events following does not imply passivity, because God’s people can “speed its coming” (v 12 – see also Luke 2 v 16; Luke 19 v 6; & Acts 20 v 16) by living a Godly life, by engaging in worldwide evangelism (Matthew 24 v 14) and through prayer (Matthew 6 v 10.)
2 – A Gospel People (v 15 – 17.)
God could have judged the world long ago, but instead he has delayed doing so in order to give people time and opportunity to be saved – “our Lord’s patience means salvation” (v 9 & 15.) Speaking of salvation, Peter is reminded of one of his peers, the Apostle Paul, who in his writing did more than anyone else to explain God’s plan of salvation (see Romans & Ephesians.) Some of what he wrote was difficult to understand; some had been distorted by false teachers; never-the-less while not being drawn away by the false teachers his readers were to seek to bear witness to God’s salvation and to win the lost for Christ through Gospel lip and lifestyle.
3 – A Growing People (v 18.)
The believers were to be continually growing, as in the case of Samuel (1 Samuel 2 v 26); John the Baptist (Luke 1 v 80); Jesus Luke 2 v 40); Paul (Acts 9 v 22); and the Christians in Thessalonica (2 Thessalonians 1 v 3.) In particular they were to grow in:-
GRACE – in terms of the development of a Christ like character (Galatians 5 v 22 – 23.)
KNOWLEDGE – in terms of their relationship to Jesus as a person (Philippians 3 v 10.)
The result of such growth in these two areas was that it would bring much glory to God (v 18.)
Challenge – “What kind of people ought you to be?” In order to glorify God we need to be a GODLY, GOSPEL & GROWING people. Do you fit such a description?
Theme: “3 things to be before the end of the world!”
Reading: 2 Peter 3 v 11 – 18
Preacher: Chris Hughes
Led by: Bev Sills