A Sign and a sermon. In chapter three of Acts we are given a sign and a sermon, a miracle and a message. The sign is the miraculous healing of a man who was severely crippled from birth for over forty years. After walking, running, jumping, and leaping for joy, we are told he is now clinging to Peter and John. All the people came, they were amazed and astounded. A sign and a sermon. Which do you think is more impressive, which is more powerful, which is more important? Let’s imagine for a moment I went to Mary right now and said, “Mary, in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!” Then immediately her leg grew back and strength returned to her legs and she stood up and started walking. In fact, even though it isn’t a very Dutch thing to do, she started dancing. After that, what would happen? People would start talking all over Lynden about this amazing thing Pastor Robert did and people would come flocking. Am I right? Who knows, it might even make the national news. Within months I would have a TV ministry, a mansion and a Lear Jet. And I would be a charlatan for cashing in on the miracle and using it for my own gain and glory. If I was wise I would do what Peter did and call time out and preach a sermon explaining what happened and why it happened and what it all means and what we should do in response to what happened. In other words, the miracle is not what’s most important, what’s most important is what it points to.
As we come to this final passage of II Peter I want to approach it a bit differently and focus on four phrases that stand out to me in the text. Next week I will wrap up the whole letter with a focus on the last two verses.
What is this weird book called Proverbs? On July 1 I challenged you and your families to read the 31 chapters of Proverbs during the 31 days of July. Some of you have been doing that, some started but have had trouble keeping going, some never even tried. Those who have been trying have some questions. Let’s face it, Proverbs is a weird book, there is no other book in the Bible like it. Reading it you feeling like a BB in a tin can, as the verses ricochet all over the place. There is no flow, no rhyme or reason. Almost no two verses are on the same topic. Let me begin with just a bit of background to this book. King Solomon is said in Scripture to be the wisest man who ever lived. In I Kings 4 we read that when he was starting out as king God asked Solomon in a dream what he would like God to give him. Remarkably of all the things he could have asked for, he asked for wisdom and this pleased God very much.
In II Peter 3 Peter is helping the Christians in his church know how to deal with people who say Jesus isn’t coming back and the world is not going to end in some sort of fiery ordeal and trial and great judgment. If it hasn’t happened in the past two thousand years, no sense thinking it will now. Live for the here and now. Live for today. Don’t worry, eat, drink and be merry, it’s all good. God is good and God is love and we have nothing to fear. They said this to justify their sexual freedom and indulgence and their love of money and love of earthly and worldly pleasures. And people who try to justify themselves always try to convince others of their same view, the more the merrier, the more confident they are in themselves. See we aren’t alone in this.
Well, let's look more closely at what God is teaching about Jesus & us in Mk.2's, as well as in Matt.9's & Lk.5's, story of THE PREACHER & PARALYTIC. • 1st we will notice the conflict brewing, 2nd the challenge hurled, 3rd the charges given. • 4th the conquest obtained, & 5th the cure celebrated.
It is interesting to note that most of the second epistles in the NT deal with false teachers and false prophets and false apostles, people who are deceiving believers and creating doubt and sowing the seeds of apostacy and immorality. It is a serious problem in every age. Peter in his second letter certainly has been warning about these things. In chapter three he has focused specifically on those scoffers who are saying that Jesus is not coming back like he promised. He is long overdue and we might as well just live and act as we please since it doesn’t matter. Where is God in the midst of all the chaos, conflict, terror, crime, violence, war, immorality? Why doesn’t God come back and fix everything that’s wrong with the world? What is God waiting for? When is the last act? When will the curtain come down on history? Why is the present age so long? Two thousand years and counting. If you have questions like that, Peter has answers. Four questions answered in II Peter 3: 1. How
We have to stop and reflect on what God allowed us to be a part of. I want you to know the fruit of your labors, I want you to know about the lives you touch, I want you to hear firsthand reports of God’s grace, God’s providence. I have asked some members of our Serve volunteer team to share briefly from their experience. Laura Buys and some of our youth; Ria Van Weerdhuizen; and Len Honcoop. Three weeks ago I preached from Acts 2:42-47, the classic Scripture text describing the beginnings of the early church. I said it was a snapshot picture of a healthy church. Listen to that text again and see how it was put into practice this week.