Tag Archives: II Peter 3

Philip Conley's Morning Thoughts

Morning Thoughts (II Peter 3:1-2 – “Consistency of the Message”)

“Consistency of the Message”

II Peter 3:1-2, “This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance: That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandments of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour:”

This morning, mankind chases after the next “happening thing.” Recently, I had a conversation with a fellow minister in which we both marveled at why certain things in the world held sway and appeal with people. We both agreed that ultimately the answer lay within the realm of the event or situation being the happening thing. It was a circumstance that was important in the eyes of the world. Being in the midst of it made you involved. You were seen. You were important. More often than not, these types of things deal with something that is fresh and new. Natural man is fascinated by newer things, and being on the leading edge of it swells his importance in his perspective. These days, religion is unheralded, and orthodox religion is even less heralded. Old fashioned ideas and concepts have seen their day.

The message of Scripture is patently different. Peter’s thought in our study verses is one that brings me much comfort personally as a minister. When a minister attempts to bring a message to God’s people, there are many things that occupy his mind: 1. First and foremost, is it sound?, 2 Is this being led of the Spirit, 3. Is it thought out?, and 4 Is this the right time and occasion for this particular message? We must follow our impressions to the best of our ability for #2 and #4 and trust those impressions are heavenly. We spend hours trying to fulfill #3, but the greatest concern that a minister has is keeping the ground of his mind hedged in areas that are sound according to Scripture. One of the great helps in Scripture that God gives us is a consistency based on the consistency of His nature. God is not duplicitous or fiendish. What He says endures. What He declares does not change. Therefore, we can expect messages today to be consistent with messages of yesteryear to fulfill the injunction of soundness.

Peter’s exact point in these verses is to remind his readers of some things. Notice in verse 1 that he is not attempting to present something new. Rather, he desires to stir up their pure minds by way of “remembrance.” Remembrance can only be had with something that we already knew. Peter has no misgivings that his audience already knew these things. He just wants to remind them of those same things (indeed the theme for this 2nd epistle). The reason Peter knew that they already knew these things is because he had written his first epistle in the same vein of consistent thought that this one has. But, he – in verse 2 – is able to point further back too.

Peter’s first epistle is consistent in thought with this second one, but Peter references the other apostles too. Later in this chapter, Peter will mention Paul by name as writing consistent things to what Peter also wrote. (Verse 15-16) However, Peter goes further back in verse 2 as well. By implication, Jesus is included as well as the prophets of the olden times. Consider this long line. From the prophets in Old Testament times, through the Master, and down to His apostles, the message has been consistent and true. The various declarations of men throughout the centuries all point to the same things and bring to light the same commandments. Therefore, ministers today have the obligation to preach and teach these same things to be part of this long and consistent line.

Though the illustration does not bear up completely due to the nuance of language and culture, I have said before that my hope is that if Paul, Peter, or some man of God from the times of Scripture was to walk into one of our services today it would look familiar to him. Whether the order of the service or the heart of the message, our pattern and thoughts should mirror what they had and experienced in their day. With the world consistently looking for new things and following after the most recent fad, the household of faith should take great comfort and safety in a message that has endured generation after generation through various cultures and dispensations.

When I was a boy, I used to wonder why preachers harped on certain subjects the way they did. Some of the subjects and passages described had such a passion and fervency to them when the men introduced and preached them. As I have grown older and now declare these same things, it made me reflect on my mindset then. The passion and energy is first and foremost because it is the truth as it is in Christ Jesus, but going back to matters 1-4 above, it is Spirit led, thought out, and still relevant for this time. With the world desiring something new, the church still has what she has always had. What she had then is still good for her now. As one of my dear fathers in the ministry told me, “What works in the world will kill the church, and what works for the church will kill the world.”

Though this message is consistent, true, and hopefully declared plainly, notice that Peter did not use the exact same words as Paul, who did not use the exact same words as Jesus, who did not use the exact same words as the prophets. The message was not a copy of the same clich├ęs, buzzwords, and catchphrases to be consistent. It is consistent due to the heart of the testimony being the same. We can grow stagnant in things that are true. Recently, I was given a very sweet compliment after preaching a pair of discourses in another state. A minister came up to me after the 2nd service and said, “I talked to my son after you preached a meeting down there last year. When I asked him what you preached about, he said, ‘Doctrine, but Pop, it was fresh.'” With tears in his eyes, he said, “That’s what it was today. It was the same gospel story, but it was fresh. That’s what our people need. The same thing, but always served fresh.” Amen and amen dear brother. That is truly what sheep food is all about. I love food analogies, and there is not much I prefer in this world next to a good steak. However, I want my steak freshly cooked, properly seasoned, and served hot. I want the gospel to be that same good piece of meat but freshly cooked, properly seasoned, and served with the unction of the Holy Ghost. When these things are met, our message will be consistent and clearly in the same line of faithful men who have been declaring it from long ago.

In Hope,
Bro Philip

Philip Conley's Morning Thoughts

Morning Thoughts (II Peter 3:3-4 – “Creation: How Old?”)

“Creation: How Old?”

II Peter 3:3-4, “Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.”

This morning, foundation points that are building blocks to other principles are eroded or taken away. The family is attacked today by the constant onslaught of what marriage really is. Religion is hammered by constant attacks on the truth. The church is ostracized by culture as being out of touch and antiquated. Though these attacks may trouble the household of faith, the real affront in these onslaughts is towards God Himself. When the children of Israel wanted a king in the days of Samuel, the Lord told him that the rejection was not of Samuel’s judgeship but rather the Lord’s Kingship. Today, people’s attack on principles and institutions is not a rejection of God’s people as much as it is a rejection of God Himself. Perhaps the most fundamental truth is that of creation itself. Without the starting point that God is the creator of the material universe, failure is inevitable. However, many today claim to believe in God’s existence and role as Creator, but they deny the simplicity of truth as enumerated in the Scriptures.

As Peter wends home to the close of his second epistle, he will discuss in glorious terms the second coming of Christ. Before doing so, he will speak of things preceding that day that opens his discussion into the subject of the second coming. Before Christ comes back, scoffers will manifest themselves denying the coming of Christ. As proof of their denials, they will foolishly point to the predictable occurrence of things and say that all things have done this since the beginning. What is interesting is that these people are not necessarily evolutionists that deny the existence of God. They admit to a creation, but their idea of creation is faulty. Today, we see this mindset all around us.

In my secular life, I work in the engineering world and in the fields of science. The people that I most associate with professionally are learned in advanced mathematics and sciences. Though I am thankful that many of my colleagues are God-fearing men and women, it is disturbing to see how so many have fallen victim to the incessant barrage that has been unleashed in the science fields. Again, they do not subscribe to evolution in that there is no God. Rather, they take all the scientific data that we have available and try to somehow make it “jive” with the idea of Creator God. Since the data being given points to an “old earth,” they must find a way to make things fit with what science tells us is fact.

Without going too deep into technical weeds, the “old earth theory” is much more popular today than it was in centuries past. Due to testing in science fields, many materials seem to be millions or more years old. This conclusion is reached based on what we know of material decay through certain composite materials. Therefore, if something has decayed so much over the last 50-100 years, the conclusion is that it must be X million years old to decay to the point it is today. That very simplified explanation of what the data shows is why so many creation believing people subscribe to the old earth theory. Therefore, they take the Genesis 1 account to be allegorical wherein every day of the creation week is really just vast indeterminate periods of time. In this way, they “marry” creation through some long evolutionary cycle to claim that both the data conclusions and the Bible are both true.

Though I am not alone, people in my field that subscribe to a “young earth” (6000-7000 years old) have been ridiculed as blindly dumb. However, no matter what someone’s worldview is, assumptions must be made beforehand. The problem with the old earth worldview is that the assumption is plainly refuted by Scripture. The assumption from the data points is that there is a linear scale and that the decay of isotopes has followed a predictable pattern from the beginning. Peter asserts in our study verses that this mindset is exactly what the scoffers believe. He will go on in subsequent verses to talk of their willing ignorance to the worldwide flood and its ramifications. Because of what happened in Noah’s day, we cannot really comprehend the fullness of what life was like pre-flood. It was obviously different as men lived 900+ years. Certain species whose fossils have been unearthed lived then but not today. Such a cataclysmic change as the flood produced altered the scale of which things like decay took place. To say that the linear regression points to a creation that is millions or billions of years old is a scoffer’s mentality.

However, something much more sinister lurks behind this theory. Based on the fossil record and things that are yet being unearthed, we see something very evidently. Fossil grounds are a cemetery of sorts that displays death. If we accept the notion that the data points to an old earth and that Genesis 1 must be allegorical, then we must accept that these fossils lived and died centuries, millennia, or longer before Adam was formed upon the earth. If that be the case, then why did they die? The Bible unequivocally points out the fact that death exists and reigns in the earth due to man’s actions. (Romans 5:12) Death not only passed upon Adam and his posterity, but death affects natural life as well. Before the fall in the Garden of Eden, death was non-existent. Animals and anything else would not have died.

To say that life forms lived and died before and not subsequent to man’s decision is to deny the basic foundation point of why death is here in the first place. If that foundation stone is taken away, what about the inverse? James says in his epistle that sin “when it is finished” bringeth forth death. The inverse of that is that grace “when it is finished” bringeth forth life. If the starting place for death is moved from its rightful slot, then the starting point for grace gets altered as well. Without believing that God created all things exactly as He says He did, we end up with a myriad of unexpected problems in the building blocks of theology as it pertains to salvation and redemption.

Brethren, our adversary is very crafty and many of the arguments arising in my lifetime have caused a great many people to slip. One of my colleagues asked me one time, “With all the evidence that we have, how can you be so dumb as to deny it?” Though I do not deny the data, I do deny the assumptions that must be made to make the conclusions that people make with them. Our children need to know that the simple model of 6 days of creative work a few thousand years ago is the starting point. To move from that point leads us to slippery places wherein our belief of depravity, grace, sin, righteousness, life, and death will not be able to stand. Furthermore, it could ultimately lead to scoffing at the idea of His return. Beloved, His return is just as sure as His creation stands today. As real as the judgment of the flood in Noah’s day is, so real is the judgment of the fire in the Lord’s day. He is coming. The knowledge that His return will be swift, certain, and glorious sustains us today through hope. To keep that hope fresh and vibrant, let us look at the creation now that is kept in store to that day of judgment with the knowledge that it was framed by God’s word just as He said it was in the beginning. Over and over, “And God said…,” “And God said….,” “And God said….” All it took in the beginning was for God to say, and it was done. All it will take in the end is for God to say, and it is done. Even so come Lord Jesus!

In Hope,
Bro Philip