Pernese Peril Part Ptwo!

After my last posting, I have received messages that have made me think. It was pointed out that McCaffrey herself wasn’t always consistent in her reasons for how Pern worked and its history. For example, in the ninth pass, the dragon population seemed to explode, and the riders founded several new weyrs in the course of a couple of decades. Naturally, if the clutch rate had always been like that, they would have had been overrun by dragons in the couple millenia that Pern was populated. However, it was stated in the books that queens rose less and laid smaller clutches during Intervals until a few years before another Fall. It also seems like the age of the weyrs changed a couple of times. I seem to remember that Telgar was said to be the youngest in the first trilogy but the third founded (along with Benden and High Reaches) in the collection FIRST FALL.

Anyway, for those who have read the books by Todd, how does he explain these issues? He might have a perfectly workable explanation, and I am genuinely curious to know what they are.

1) Women don’t ride blues. I read the other night that Anne stated that, while she would never do this in her books, it was conceivable that a masculine lesbian woman could ride a blue. So, that one is answered. Todd just followed her thought there.

2) Blues don’t lead weyrs. Since there are no dragons larger than a blue in this colony, a blue has to be the weyrleader.

Those two I’ve logiced out an answer. Can anyone help with the two below?

3) Greens don’t lay viable eggs. Kitti Ping engineered the greens to be sterile.

4) If a green could lay viable eggs, they lack the stamina to conceive a gold. Or are large, fighting dragons not the goal of this colony established to produce fighting dragons for the coming Fall?

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What Thread Couldn’t Destroy

I read my first Pern story in seventh grade. The literature book had a short story penned by Anne McCaffrey. So impressed, I went to the local library and looked for more. I read almost all of them I could get my hands on (as I wanted stories about riding dragons, I skipped the Harper Hall trilogy). One thing that impressed me the most was the ordered society and strict rules that McCaffrey operated under.

Several of the books, I read numerous times. I know I took four trips through DRAGONSDAWN and probably the same number with ALL THE WERYS OF PERN.

Sometime between 2003 and 2005, I read THE SKIES OF PERN. I didn’t hate it, but it disappointed me. There seemed to be big plot holes that she didn’t make any attempt to fill in. Why were dragon riders specially suited to be sky watchers with telescopes to look for meteors and asteroids? Being dragonback would actually eliminate the stability needed to do good stargazing. I stopped reading the books. If people asked, I said I wasn’t, but I never made a big deal out of it.

Today at the library, I picked one up that was co-authored by Anne and her son Todd. After reading part way through the flap, I shut the book and put it back on the shelf. Xena, wait, he spelled it Xhinna, is a blue rider and the first female weyrleader. She leads a group of greens and blues to the past in an attempt to breed enough new dragons to repopulate the weyrs. Long-time readers of the series should pause at the problems.

Where’s the creativity in this plot line? (I know that there are really very few plots in existence, and it’s just the details that make them seem different but this is a big borrowing.) Didn’t a group of dragons and riders go back in time to Southern Weyr to rebuild the population in a prior book? But reworking plots is an established Pern tradition as well. Good writers borrow, great writers steal.

My real problem with the description was the breaking of established rules of Pern. First, women don’t ride blue dragons. That had been settled in stone long before. Women ride greens and golds (girls with g). Men ride blues, browns, and bronzes (boys on b). As time went on and fewer women went to the hatching grounds, men (gay) also rode greens (keep that alliteration going!). But Anne never had a woman ride a blue, though she said in an interview a homsexual woman might be able to impress a blue. Along comes Todd and breaks one of the rules of his mother’s cherished series. He’s done it before by retconning the watchweyrs.

Second, blues aren’t weyrleaders. It simply isn’t possible for a blue to fly a gold, and the weyrleader is the rider of the bronze (or large brown) that flies the senior queen. Seniority of first to fly was established in the very first Pern novel and rationalized in FIRST FALL. The riders intended to come up with a better way based on merit of the riders and dragons, but in time first-to-fly became an incontrovertible tradition. But since this colony has none of the larger brown, bronze, or gold dragons, I guess the leader has to be a blue. Which leads me to the third problem here.

Third, greens don’t lay viable eggs. This sterile green was established in the very first books and explained in DRAGONSDAWN. To increase the fighting force of dragons, Kitti Ping, the genetic engineer, made the greens sterile (though the people of Pern believe the reason greens don’t clutch is their use of firestone). That way, greens (about half the population) aren’t removed from the front lines with a clutch. The same engineer likewise made the golds unable to breathe flame, hence the queen riders carry weapons like flame throwers and agenothree (an acid-HNO3) canisters.

Fourthly, related to the above, greens couldn’t lay gold eggs even if they weren’t sterile. Golds are the rarest of dragons, and their eggs are only laid when the bronze and golden parents achieve a long enough mating flight. The longer the flight, the more eggs and the more of the larger dragons. Greens, in their sterile flights (they have mating flights even though they can’t lay eggs) do not have the stamina needed to sustain a flight that would result in a golden egg among the clutch. I guess they didn’t need more queens to rebuild the population of dragons.

So the brainchild of the literary heir of one of my beloved childhood series is a novel about a colony of dragons to rebuild the population using dragons who can’t lay eggs and even if the rules are tweaked so they can, they will have small clutches. Well, what’s breaking a few more rules.

What thread couldn’t destroy, Todd did.

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The Last Crusade: The Spirit Enables Believers to Fulfill the Mission of the Church

Because men are fallen, God must provide a way for believers to share the message of return.
This sermon will be topical, exploring several passages that teach on a theme, instead of working through a single passage. Why did God give the world the Church? It marks a distinct change from the way God worked in the Old Testament. Instead of simply priests and high priests, a hierarchy of deacons, pastors, bishops, and patriarchs developed. Moreover, the Spirit upon every believer (as longed for by Moses and prophesied by Joel) enables every believer to go to God and present the Gospel to others.

The church is the body of Christ, the habitation of God through the Holy Spirit, with divine appointments for the fulfillment of the Great Commission. Each believer, born of the Spirit, is an integral part of the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in Heaven (Ephesians 1:22, 23; 2:22; Hebrews 12:23).
Since God’s purpose concerning man is to seek and save the lost, be worshiped by man, to build a body of believers being conformed to the image of His Son, and to demonstrate His love and compassion to all the world, the priority reason for being of the Assemblies of God as part of the Church is:

  1. To be an agency of God for evangelizing the world (Matt 28:19-20; Acts 1:8; Mark 16:15,16).
  2. To be a corporate body in which man may worship God (1 Corinthians 12:13).
  3. To be a channel of God’s purpose in building a body of saints being perfected in the image of His Son (Ephesians 4:11-16; 1 Corinthians 12:28; 14:12). To be a people who demonstrate God’s love and compassion to all the world (Psalm 112:9; Galatians 2:10; 6:10; James 1:27).

The Assemblies of God exists expressly to give continuing emphasis to this reason for being in the New Testament apostolic pattern by teaching and encouraging believers to be baptized in the Holy Spirit. This experience:

  1. Enables them to evangelize in the power of the Spirit with accompanying supernatural signs (Mark 16:15-20; Acts 4:29-31; Hebrews 2:3-4).
  2. Adds a necessary dimension to a worshipful relationship with God (1 Corinthians 2:10-16; 1 Corinthians 12-14).
  3. Enables them to respond to the full working of the Holy Spirit in expression of the fruit and gifts and ministries as in the New Testament times for the edifying of the body of Christ and care for the poor and needy of the world (Galatians 5:22-26; Matthew 25:37-40; Galatians 6:10; 1 Corinthians 14:12; Ephesians 4:11-12; 1 Corinthians 12:28; Colossians 1:29).

Everything the Church does should focus on one of three things: 1) outreach; 2) upreach; 3) inreach. We bring others to salvation, we worship God above, and we become more like Him in our actions and thoughts. If a local body finds it is doing something that does not fulfill one of these three items, it must drop that activity. Any activity which does not feed the Church must be discarded. God has given the Church to fulfill His mission. That mission must be pursued by us in all ways.

1) To evangelize. To seek and save the lost (Matthew 28:19-20; Mark 16:15-16; Acts 1:8).

  • Matthew 28:19-20 19 “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
  • Mark 16:15-16 And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. 16 “He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned.
  • Acts 1:8 but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”

Jesus came to make a way for the man to be reconciled to God. Since Eden, we have been in a state of rebellion. On a regular basis, men would sacrifice to God to atone for those sins. Yet it was never enough. Sacrifices always cost. David refused to make an offering where he had been given the animals because that meant it was not a sacrifice for him. With that final sacrifice of Jesus on the cross, the debt were paid.

Imagine if God had turned away from the world. That our sins were so bad God saw no need to bring about redemption. Thankfully, He did not see it that way. God made a way. From before the foundation of the world, God’s plan was in motion.

After Jesus was bodily raised from the dead, He gave the Disciples a command. “Go. Teach all nations to observe these things just as I have commanded you. And be sure that I am with you always even to the end of the age.”

Our job is to spread the good news of Jesus to all the world. We know that wherever we go, He is with us. When Matthew told of Jesus’ birth, he said that He would be “God with us.” Now, at the end, Jesus says, “I am with you.”

The early church was characterized by growth. Every account in Acts talks about how many people were saved that day and baptized. Luke draws a distinction between water baptism and Spirit baptism, which he likens to being baptized by fire. When you are baptized in water, you are completely surrounded by the water. Likewise, when you are baptized in the Spirit, you are completely surrounded by the Spirit.

Something else common to every act of the early church is that it preached. It wasn’t just by actions that the message was given. It was by the spoken word. When you think of the ministry gifts of the spirit, notice how all of them we first think about are characterized by speaking: “And He gave some to be apostles, and some prophets, and some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers.” It’s not just the actions. It’s the word. Jesus is the Word of God. Scripture is the Word of God. We must speak. God does not allow us to be silent.

The Spirit empowers us to evangelize in the power of the Spirit with accompanying supernatural signs. The Disciples stayed in Jerusalem after Jesus ascended to obey what He had told them. After the Spirit came upon them, they would be His witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and to the ends of the Earth. Once the Spirit came, they started preaching. 3,000 souls were saved in a day, and the Spirit was just getting started. The Apostles spread out to tell the world what Christ had done. Mark went to Egypt. Andrew went to Byzantium, as it was called then. Later it was renamed Constantinople, and now we call it Istanbul. Peter and Paul died in Rome, far from their homes. Syria. Asia Minor. Africa. The Apostles took the message all the way to India in the first decades. Empowered by the Spirit to serve God, they went where He told them to go. Thomas, who went to India, didn’t want to go, and tried to run. Like Jonah, God got Thomas where he was needed. Jonah rode in the belly of a whale. Thomas was taken as a slave. Don’t be like Thomas! Work where God wants you to or you will be miserable.

2) To lead believers in worshiping God (1 Corinthians 12:13).

  • 1 Corinthians 12:13 For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.

The Presbyterians have their larger catechism, which states, “man’s chief and highest end is to glorify God, and fully to enjoy Him forever.” Repeatedly in Ephesians, Paul states we are made for his glory. One of the heroes of the ancient church, St. Augustine, bishop of Hippo in northern Africa, wrote “our souls are restless until they find their rest in thee.” Without worshiping God, humans beings are like pianos that have gone out of tune. They sound funny.

We are not just animals whose brain got big enough to notice itself and started walking upright. We are special creations of God with an immaterial part that reaches up to God. He placed that in us. While God called the other animals into existence, He lovingly shaped clay into Adam and then formed Eve from his rib and side. He placed in Adam the breath of life. It was then that man became a living soul. When you look across human societies, you will find they all have a concept of a higher power and the need to worship. Truly, it’s something that sets us apart.

A friend of mine was once a Christian, then an atheist, and as of the last time we spoke, neither. After he left the church, and his grandparents were missionaries, he began to feel hollow inside. For years, he struggled against it, tried to fight it down by reading science and philosophy. But there was an emptiness that would not go away. Finally, he went back to church. “Oh, not to be a Christian,” he told me while I read his email, dumbfounded. “I realized that all around the world, humans worship. We aren’t just matter that moves. Something more than atoms is part of us. That ‘spiritual’ side has to be fed and nurtured just like our body does.”

While it is true that every good and true action we take can be worship, the Church is a special place, provided to worship God together. You can make even cleaning the house a time of worship. We are told to take every thought captive for Christ. So every action can be taken captive also and used in worship. But never forget the place of the church in worship.

Baptism in the Spirit adds a necessary dimension to a worshipful relationship with God. As you read the instructions on the Holy Spirit, you will see over and over that the Spirit leads us in worship. The gifts are given not to make us the alphas of the world but to enable us to fulfill God’s work in us more easily. The spirit enriches believers and edifies us as children of God.

To use your gifts from God is an act of worship. When a healer prays and see the bones mend, he and the witnesses know that God was at work there. When a message is given in either tongues or prophecy, God is moving.

The worshipful church is the most powerful weapon in God’s arsenal. Jesus said the gates of Hell would not overcome the church. Think about that. Gates aren’t offensive weapons. A gated city was something to attack not be attacked by. When the church worships, it is moving against Satan and spreading the Light of the World a little further each time.

Before we go to the third point, think about some major ministries that had everything going for them resource wise. They had the man power, money, material, and technical skill, but those who didn’t rely on the Spirit died out. On the other hand, think of those ministries which started out with almost nothing but relied on the Spirit and shook the world.

The first Assemblies of God world missionaries took their belongings in a coffin. They did not expect to return to the United States. Now, in just more than 100 years, the Assemblies has more converts per missionary than any other missions sending agency.

3) To build a body of saints being perfected in the image of His Son (Ephesians 4:11-16; 1 Corinthians 12:28; 14:12). This in turn leads us to share the love and compassion of Christ with the world (Psalm 112:9; Galatians 2:10; 6:10; James 1:27).

  • Ephesians 4:11-16 And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ. 14 As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; 15 but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.
  • 1 Corinthians 12:28 And God has appointed in the church, first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, various kinds of tongues.
  • 1 Corinthians 14:12 So also you, since you are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek to abound for the edification of the church.

This is how the church nurtures us. We have reached out. We have reached up. Now we will reach in to grow from babes in Christ to mature saints. From milk to meat, as it were. The important question here is how do we know if we are growing in Christ? The Bible shows the answer. Galatians 5:22-26 lists the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. If you see these parts growing in others, know that they are growing in Christ. You will be hard pressed to find all of these in someone who is not in Christ.

Naturally, we all have to work on this part. It doesn’t just come to be. St. Peter tells us, “2 Peter 1:5-11 Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, 6 and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, 7 and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love. 8 For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For he who lacks these qualities is blind or short-sighted, having forgotten his purification from his former sins. 10 Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble; 11 for in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you.”

A final aspect of this point is that as we become perfected in the image of the Son, our hearts grow and our compassion for others swells.

  • Psalm 112:9 He has given freely to the poor, His righteousness endures forever; His horn will be exalted in honor.
  • Galatians 2:10 They only asked us to remember the poor– the very thing I also was eager to do.
  • Galatians 6:10 So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith.
  • James 1:27 Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.

If a church has the gifts but not the fruit, it hasn’t finished its job. The church has a high responsibility in making sure that the saints grow in Christ. We aren’t perfect and won’t be this side of Heaven when we are fully sanctified. But we must be growing.

The Church has a high calling, and the members share in it. Each and every one of us is a part of that body. If we don’t do our job, not only do we fail, but our job in the church must be done by another. That’s right, we each have a job to do. God won’t let His kingdom fall. The only question is will we do our job or force Him to give it to another?

The Spirit enables us to respond to the full working of the Holy Spirit in expression of the fruit and gifts and ministries. Baptism in the Holy Spirit is the first step in a full relationship with Christ. I can’t imagine how my life would be different without it. What I found personally is that sins which plagued me constantly were demolished by the Spirit power after my Baptism.

Unless you listen to the Spirit and immerse yourself in Him, you will not grow fully in Christ. Would a marshal in a western go after the James Brothers with only three bullets in his six shooter? Why, then, would you want to face the Devil with a major part of your arsenal unavailable? I know I wouldn’t.

The Spirit empowers the Church to bring the knowledge of Christ to the lost. The Spirit enables the Church in worship. The Spirit makes us more like Christ. The Spirit empowers us to serve.

Let me tell you of a man whom you’ve probably not heard of, but he shook the Roman empire to it’s very core. His name was Telemachus, and the historian Theodoret tell us he was a monk. One day in prayer, the Spirit told him to go to Rome. He had no desire to see Rome with its buildings and crowds, but he listened and went. While there, he felt the Spirit urge him to go to the Collessium. Well, for a man like Telemachus, that rated slightly above walking through Rome’s Red Light District. But he went. There he saw gladiators fight each other to the death, and he saw wild beasts tear people to pieces, and he heard the crowd cheer and yell for more blood.
And sick to his stomach but empowered by the Spirit, he made his next and last action pure worship. He cried out, “In the name of Christ, stop this thing!”

The crowd looked around. What is this? Who is this little monk to spoil our fun? They laughed and continued to watch.

Telemachus pushed his way to the railing overlooking the stadium and cried again, “In the name of Christ, stop this thing!” Hurling himself over the railing, he ran to the close fight, a soldier going in for the kill. The little monk threw himself upon the standing gladiator’s back.

“In the name of Christ, stop this thing!” were his last words as the gladiator, threw him off.

The crowd was upset that their fun was spoiled. They leaped into the arena themselves and stoned the monk.

This was January 1, 404. Word of this event got to the Christian emperor, Honorius, who told the bishop to list Telemachus in the role of martyrs and then declared an end to the gladiator games which he hated but did not have the political capital to stop until that day.

The monk Telemachus was the last person killed in a sanctioned gladiator match in the empire. Making his life one of worship saved the lives and souls of thousands.

Conclusion. The choice is yours. Many of you have already chosen to respond to God’s call for salvation. Those who have not will not find a better time than now. God gives no one a guarantee of tomorrow or even of one more hour. If you feel God calling you to salvation, grasp it.

For those who are already saved, you may be feeling God’s call to a deeper walk with Him. In your worship, let the Spirit flow through you. Look at your life and see which fruit of the Spirit are not as well formed as the others. Did you notice that there are gifts of the Spirit, given as He wills and no one has all the gifts but the fruit of the Spirit is singular? The Holy Spirit intends for each of those to be on display in a believer’s life. Do you lack self-control? You need it. Gentleness? Ask for it. Patience? And all the others.

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The Last Crusade: Against False Teachers

Summary: Because we will always have false teachers among us, we must know how to stand against them.

This post is part of The Last Crusade, a call to arms from John C. Wright where he asked me to be a catechist.

There’s a saying in the military that if you aren’t taking flack, you aren’t over the target. Paul took flack and still does today. Peter took flack. Many in academic places doubt that Peter wrote 2 Peter, but we can trust that the early Church knew what they were doing when they preserved the tradition that Peter wrote this little book.

It is the duty of every Christian alive to be ready with an answer for those who ask about the hope we have within us. Peter wrote to take on false teachers. Jesus was attacked during His ministry. The church was attacked from that first Pentecost onward. False teachers tried to sneak in and lead people astray. Peter wants us to have no part of that. We are always to be on guard against false teachers and their lies. No, I’m not pulling back from that. False teachers are liars. Maybe those who honestly think they are teaching the truth aren’t as bad of liars, but the truth must prevail. And that’s what Peter writes about today.

Scripture introduction

Saint Peter wrote two books of Scripture for us. While we might think that someone who spent so much time with Jesus would have written a gospel like Matthew and John, we can trust that Peter’s talents lay elsewhere. However, one gospel is associated with him. Mark’s Gospel is the hardest on Peter and no wonder. You are always your own harshest critic. After leaving Paul’s ministry, Mark traveled with Peter and for years heard Peter preaching the life of Jesus. Mark wrote those down in the Gospel.

But Second Peter comes to us years after the Gospel of Mark, and Peter is older maybe slower to anger than the man in the garden who defended his lord with a sword. But he hasn’t lost the old fire we know and love. It just takes him longer to get riled up, but when he does…

Peter gives us a mini-Revelation in chapter 3. The book was written near the end of his life, probably between AD 65 and 68. Peter was killed during the reign of Nero. Unwilling to die like Jesus, Peter requested that the soldiers make his worse. They did so by crucifying him upside down.

Where in his first letter, Peter taught on how to deal with persecution, in this letter he deals with false teachers. In both letters, Peter obeyed Christ’s command to “feed my sheep.” In the first chapter, he stimulates Christian growth. In the second, he combats false teachings. The purpose of this third chapter is to encourage watchfulness among Christians in view of the Lord’s return. Now let us read 2 Peter 3:1-18.

Remember what is coming. 2 Peter 3:1-7

Peter reminds us of two things in this section. First, he reminds us again of the false teachers and how to counteract them. They work against Scripture, and the way to overcome then is to remember that Scripture cannot fail. This is one of the qualities the Bible has by way of being inspired. It cannot fail. If we remember this and what it teaches, we will prevail.

The words to remember are those spoken of by first the Prophets and then the Apostles. Both Old and New Testament come from God moving upon those holy men to write. These words were given to believers not to put a stop to our fun but to guide us in holiness. Just like your mother or father knows things that you don’t, so does God. The rules are there to help not hinder.

Naturally, some of the rules have been laid aside with Christ’s victory. Believers are not bound under the food laws of the Old Testament. God stated this explicitly in the book of Acts. However, many were left alone and some even strengthened. Idolatry is still a sin, even though Jesus never condemns it. He didn’t have to, because the Jews had gotten the message after decades of exile.

But false teachers never stop. They don’t listen when Christians show them how Scripture shows their folly. Some simply cannot fathom being wrong. Others know they are wrong and continue to shout louder. Others simply change to a different topic the next time they come around.

Let us consider briefly one of the first heretics in the Church. A man named Arius who taught “there was a time when the Son was not.” As you examine his teachings, you find that he believed Jesus Christ was a being created by God, but created nonetheless. Being created, Jesus was not divine the same way the Father is. I’m sure you can see the problem here. The only way the church could deal with the problem was to call a council in AD 325 and debate the issue. At the end of the council, Arius and Arianism were roundly condemned. However, the Arians did not stop their teaching. They considered themselves right and went on. In the centuries since, Arianism has reared its ugly head many times. Even today, the Jehovah’s Witnesses hold beliefs like Arius and Church of God, Seventh Day is very similar.

In Peter’s day, the mockers were already asking a question that we deal with today–“why hasn’t Jesus returned?” They say that things keep going just as they did before. Jesus isn’t coming back they said. Peter reminded the flock that the mockers did this so they would not have to stop sinning.

Peter goes on to point out that the mockers have committed the most basic blunder. They have not looked at what else the Bible says. Peter uses a phrase meaning “stupid on purpose.” They willingly ignore that the Bible teaches about another judgment where the earth was flooded with water to destroy all life. They ignore the first so they don’t have to worry about the second. Peter reminds us that the future judgment by fire is going to happen as surely as the past judgment by water happened.

It isn’t enough for them to ignore the first judgment. No, they are willfully ignorant also of how the world began. Hey, if you doubt from the word go, you don’t have to explain why you believe this but not that. Peter had to face many false teachings on how the world began. Most of them at least had the decency not to claim they were Christians. They were outright pagans and proud of it.

You see, it isn’t the teachers outside the church who do the most damage. It’s the ones inside the church. The ones who claim to be Christians. They are wolves in sheep’s clothing. The most damaging teachers are the ones inside. The controversies that resulted in councils being called all started from inside. Bad teachings on the Trinity have always been a favorite of Satan to use.

Nevertheless, we can rest assured, it’s going to happen. The only question is when. And why it will happen is for God to judge wicked and ungodly men.

Remember why the delay. 2 Peter 3:8-10

God has one and only one reason to delay. He is still bringing the plan of salvation to fruition. There are still people out there who need to be saved and will be saved. You see, God knows and knew from the beginning of the world who would accept the sacrifice of Jesus and who would not. He does not want any to perish, so He delays the judgment for their sake.

This isn’t laziness or putting things off. When the last person chooses Him, only then will the judgment take place. When it happens, the heavens and earth will be demolished, destroyed with fervent heat. They pass away and are burned up.

While we want the New Heavens because there will be no sin, we can only be glad for others’ sake that it hasn’t happened yet. If you don’t want the New Heavens and Earth because of something in your life, that’s a sure sign you need to get rid of it. It’s wrong. It’s a sin. If there is anything that you say, “I wouldn’t want Jesus to see me doing that,” rest assured, it’s a sin.

Remember how to act while waiting. 2 Peter 3:11-18

Since this is going to happen, how should we act? Holiness should be what we seek in ourselves. Godliness. We should be living so that those who want to mock us cannot. We should long for that day and hasten it by living the lives we are called to do. Each action we take for God may be the action needed for everything to click in the mind of an unbeliever and them to convert.

We should hold two emotions regarding the coming judgment.

  1. We should anxiously await the coming Kingdom, that new heaven and new earth.
  2. We should be glad that God is still giving people time to repent.

That’s a tough bit to hang in balance. We want to be in that Kingdom, but we all have family and friends who won’t be there with us. That should make it easier for us. But if it doesn’t, just remember that Jesus already did the hard work in salvation. He did the part that we couldn’t do.

“According to His promise, we look forward to a new Heavens and New Earth wherein dwelleth righteousness.” New. Created fresh to remove all taint of sin. While some teachers maintain Peter means this heaven and earth renewed, the wording of the Bible shows this to be a completely new heaven and earth. The prior heaven and earth are eliminated in great fire. Looking further into the Bible, John gives us details about the New Heaven and New Earth that show it is completely new. He says that when Christ judges from the Great White Throne that the present Heaven and Earth flee from Him. He doesn’t bring them back. He makes something new.

While we must focus on what the Bible says when combating false teaching, we must not go where the Bible does not. Peter doesn’t go into details about the Second Coming; these are all spoken of at different places. What Peter needed to focus on, he did. We don’t need to worry about how the human body will be changed at that time. It is enough to know that we will be changed to glorious beings. Jesus was the first born of many brethren, and we will be like He was after the Resurrection.

While waiting for this glorious day, be patient, knowing that God is working out salvation for someone else. We can say “come quickly, Lord Jesus,” and be working to bring all the people we know into the kingdom. And if you were that someone, wouldn’t you be glad He waited?

Peter spends a lot of time in this little book talking about false teachers. They always have been a thorn in the church and they always will be. Peter says that they distort Paul just like they do other Scripture. Peter recognized Paul’s letters as God’s word revealed to man even though some of them were hard to understand.

Deep in our hearts, we should pity false teachers. They are headed for a very warm afterlife unless they repent and return to God. God is not mocked; He will win.

Peter closes with the best advice we can ever receive on how to stand firm against unprincipled false teachers. There’s only one way to be ready. What is it? Know the truth. Be on your guard, ready for them. They will come at you. In fact, the more you are teaching the truth, the more the false teachers will attack you.

Know the Truth. Study your Scriptures. Study to be approved. Grow in grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. Every day you should wake up and ask, “how can I build the kingdom today?” Start by building yourself daily. Pray. Read. Be ready.

Conclusion

How then are you acting? Are you living each day to build the Kingdom? There’s an implication here in all of Peter’s talking about false teachers. We are to be true teachers. Do we not have the Gospel within us? Do we not know the joy of salvation and Christian living? Embrace it and go. Jesus said that no man lights a candle and hides it under a basket. Instead, you light it up bright and put it on a candlestick so that it gives light to all around.

Are you doing that? Are you combating false teachers and teaching truth at every opportunity? Make it happen. Does your light shine for all the world to see?
If not, this is the time to get it right and light that lamp of yours.

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