Thursday, March 11, 2010
Today’s Topic: Suffer the Scoffing
Today’s Text: 2 Peter 3:1 (NIV) Dear friends, this is now my second letter to you. I have written both of them as reminders to stimulate you to wholesome thinking.
It’s in a box in the closet here at the office. It’s huge. When unfolded it stretches at least 10 feet across. It’s very old. It’s a banner that my grandfather, Dr. J.A. van Gorkom, had made for his evangelistic meetings he conducted in churches all across the United States. He would stretch it across the front of the church above his head for up to two weeks at a time and preach on prophecy. It’s a banner that lays out the prophecies of Scripture in visual form. Someday I’m going to hang it our church when I do a series on prophecy.
In the days ahead we are going to be reading what Peter has to say about the future. We will not go into all the details of all the various views of the rapture and Second Coming of the King, but we will look at the signs Peter gives us that the time is drawing closer.
It’s important to study prophecy. Peter tells us in verse one of chapter three that he wants to stimulate us to wholesome thinking. Then verse two says this:
I want you to recall the words spoken in the past by the holy prophets and the command given by our Lord and Savior through your apostles.
First Connecting Point – wholesome thinking is ALWAYS based on the Word of God.
Then, as we read further, verse three says:
First of all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires.
Second Connecting Point – wholesome thinking prepares us for the future.
I think it is very significant that Peter’s first point of emphasis in stimulating wholesome thinking is to teach us prophecy and what to look for as the Day of the Lord approaches. And the first thing he wants us to recognize about these last days is the level of scoffing at Christianity that will occur. It’s not hard to see how that is happening in our day.
Our response to scoffing is important. We are going to be abused – verbally and physically. Jesus promised it. All men will hate you because of me (Mark 13:13) So we should expect it. But how we respond can be a powerful witness to others. This story from Charles Spurgeon illustrates the point:
There was a certain king whose son was sent upon an errand to a far country, and when he came into that country, although he was the lawful prince of it, he found that the citizens would not acknowledge him. They mocked at him, jeered at him, and took him and set him in the pillory, and there they scoffed at him and pelted him with filth.
Now, there was one in that country who knew the prince, and he alone stood up for him when all the mob was in tumult raging against him. And when they set him on high as an object of scorn, this man stood side by side with him to wipe the filth from that dear royal face; and when from cruel hands missiles in scorn were thrown, this man took his full share; and whenever he could he thrust himself before the prince to ward off the blows if possible, and to bear the scorn instead of him.
Now it came to pass that after awhile the prince went on his way, and in due season the man who had been the prince’s friend was called to the king’s palace. And on a day when all the princes of the court were around, and the peers and nobles of the land were sitting in their places, the king came to his throne and he called for that man, and he said, “Make way, princes and nobles! Make way! Here is a man more noble than you all, for he stood boldly forth with my son when he was scorned and scoffed at! Make way, I say, each one of you, for he shall sit at my right hand with my own son. As he took a share of his scorn, he shall now take a share of his honor.”
And there sat princes and nobles who wished that they had been there—they now envied the man who had been privileged to endure scorn and scoffing for the prince’s sake!
For the joy that is set before you in the presence of the King, prepare to respond to scoffers with grace.