Friday, May 24, 2013

WEEKLY SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON
An international Sunday school lesson commentary

For Sunday May 26, 2013
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HOPE IN THE DAY OF THE LORD
(Living with assurance)
(2 Peter 3)

Second Peter chapter three gives us five facts, or perspectives on the second coming of our LORD and SAVIOR JESUS CHRIST. Here Peter reminds us of the “Christian Hope” that, since the first century, has served as motivation for us to live our lives, aspiring to conform more completely to the word of GOD.
In the biblical Greek, the word most often used for “earnest expectation”, or “hope for the future” is “apokaradokia”. It describes the attitude of a person who scans the horizon with their head leaning forward, as they eagerly anticipate the first signs of the coming of the glory of GOD.
For Peter and the other apostles, life was not a weary and defeated waiting, but rather, it was a throbbing and vivid expectation. The Christian has always been, is now, and, will forever be, a part of the human experience. By that I mean, from within, we must all suffer with our own “sin nature”, in the Greek, “epithumia”, which is “that battle within ourselves between reason and passion”. From without, we must all live in a world full of death and decay, and in addition, also suffer the consequences of the sins of others. However, thanks to the vicarious sacrifice of CHRIST JESUS, now, a person does not just have to live hopelessly in the world, but rather, we can now obtain the assurance of victory over the world, that can only be achieved, through our belief in HIM. And so, as believers, we become people who do not see only the world, but rather, we can look beyond this world, to GOD, at all times.
The keynote to the Christian faith must always be “hope”, and never “despair”, because the true Christian waits not for death, but rather, we wait for life. The Christian, just like Peter, Paul, and all the other early Church workers, during the height of the Christian persecutions of the first century and beyond, must always wait, in the spirit of “apokaradokia”.
First century Christians were very much in tune to the words of the ancient prophets regarding the first advent of CHRIST JESUS, and now, they had, in addition, received the wonderful promises of our LORD and SAVIOR, JESUS CHRIST, HIMSELF.
Earlier I mentioned that there are five perspectives on the “second coming of CHRIST” that are presented by Peter in this passage, specifically in verses 1-16.  

·         The first perspective is that “Believers will remember it” (vs. 1-2), and I’ve already  elaborated on this point.
·          The second perspective is that “scoffers will laugh at the idea of it” (vs. 3-7). In the “last  days”, which, in the biblical sense, are those days that GOD generously gives us to repent between the first and second coming of CHRIST, unbelievers will mock and deny JESUS CHRIST, in word, and in behavior, just as the Roman Emperor Nero mocked  Christianity in the first century with his “miming” skills in theaters around Rome.
·        The third perspective that Peter gives us is that “GOD guarantees the second coming   (vs. 8-9). GOD guarantees CHRIST’ return through the words HE gave to the ancient prophets that, in HIS OWN time, JESUS will return and set up HIS Millennial kingdom. Here in these verses, Peter quotes from Psalm 90:4, which speaks of how GOD sees time  against eternity. To GOD, a thousand years is like a day, and a day like a thousand years.  GOD, through HIS mercy and kindness, is giving us more than ample time to repent and get our lives in line with HIS purpose for us.  
·        The fourth perspective is given in how Peter describes this second advent of CHRIST (vs.10-13) as “coming unexpected as would a thief in the night”. Here Peter recalls the  description given by JESUS to him and the other disciples in Matthew 24:42-44. It is a  depiction that is also echoed by the Apostles Paul (1 Thessalonians 5:2) and John (Revelations 3:3 & 16:15) in their writings.  
·        And finally, we can see that “our behavior must be changed as we anticipate it” (vs. 14-16). We must remember that, while we are waiting on JESUS to return, GOD is also waiting on us, giving us all a chance to choose to turn our lives around, so that we can reflect HIS image more closely to others, here on earth, through our own behavior. 

And while the words and warnings of HIS prophets are sometimes hard to understand, and the twisting of those words by false teachers and preachers don’t make it any easier either, those who earnestly seek GOD, through it all, will find HIM. And those who have dedicated their lives to hindering the spread of GOD’s word, will, in the end, suffer  greatly and eternally in a place that GOD has already designated for those who forcefully  and passively, uphold the Luciferian system of this nation, and, of this world.

A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander





                                 
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