Introduction – II John

“Who is Jesus?”…The proverbial question of our time. This question still brings controversy & opinions to this day. False teachers of today come in many forms…whether false pastors, teachers…authors like Dan Brown (Da Vinci Code & Angles & Demons)…they all attempt to describe a false Jesus. Yet their preposterous claims are believed by the gullible, naive & ignorant Christians out there. The apostle John encouraged all believers to cling to the Truth of our Lord Jesus Christ!

II John 1

Vs. 3, “Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and from Jesus Christ, the Father’s Son, will be with us in truth and love.”  Truth must be balanced by Love….and Love must be balanced by Truth.  The truth is not something we simply study or believe…it should be a motivating force in our lives!  It is not simple enough to know it, we must live it (Vs. 4-6).  We must also protect the truth (Vs. 7-11).  We must be careful and wise in discerning what is true and what is false.  Once again, we see the strong emphasis on false teachings.  The early church made it a practice to support traveling teachers & pastors, but John was quick to admonish them not to show hospitality to those who preached a false Gospel.  While it is okay to share God’s love & truth to them, it is dangerous to have them over to your house.

Regarding application…Walking with Jesus.  Vs. 4, “It has given me great joy to find some of your children walking in the truth, just as the Father commanded us.”  Wow…isn’t that so true?  Next to the joy in the Lord…I would have to agree with John when it comes to receiving joy when I see members of this youth group walking with our Lord Jesus!  As much joy as it gives me…we can only imagine how much more that joy is amplified up in Heaven!!!  As we soon approach the Lord each day…may we bring joy to our Lord by following Him!  When we come to church….may we come with hearts ready & minds ready to worship & learn the Living Word of our Lord!  And perhaps by doing that we can even bring each other joy when we witness the love of the Lord displayed in each others lives!  They say there is safety in numbers.  When we go strange places, it is always wise to take another to walk with you.  Spiritually, it is imperative to take the hand of Christ and let Him guide you through the dark streets of our lives.

II Peter 3

Vs. 8, “But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.”  It was not an easy time for the Christians during Peter’s letter.  You can see Peter’s strong admonition to stay true to God’s Word (Vs. 2).  We should never be ignorant (not knowing) of God’s Word…we know that Jesus will return, therefore we should never forget it and live like He could return today.  I love Vs. 9 and how it reminds us that God has chosen not to come back yet because of His desire for us to make sure we are doing our job to go out and bear witness of Him!  We must be diligent in our walks & always be alert of the traps & mines that can come along our path.  We must grow both in the knowledge (His Word) & the grace (Walking with Him) of our Lord Jesus Christ!

Regarding application…Make Every Effort!  Vs.14, “So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him.”  In other translations “dear friends” = Beloved.  Think about this…  Question: What really matters in this life?  There are many worthwhile things to pursue in this life…Godly friendships, good grades in school, good career to support a family one day, find a good church…etc.  But, the heart of the matter…what really matters is asking yourself…what is true object of my life?  My goals or God’s goals?  God’s Goals or My Goals?  You cannot choose both.  You must choose one.

I loved the child book story of the “Little Engine That Could.”  The whole premise is this little “choo choo” train having to go up this enourmous mountain.  It is a daunting task and it seem impossible by all human standards.  Yet the “little engine that could” had this mantra (saying)…rather than feels sorry for itself or say, “I can’t do it”…the “little engine that could” kept on repeating these words…”I think I can, I think I can, I think I can, etc…”  It’s a wonderful story to show not only children but all of us a illustration about life.  But for the Christian…”I think I can” should really translate to “I know God can, I know God can, I know God can….”  When we “Make Every Effort” to die to ourselves, God can do anything His will desires in our life.  Amen!

II Peter 2

Vs. 1, “But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves.”  We should never underestimate the danger of false teachers.  Please note: Keep in mind that a false teacher is not a person who teaches false doctrine out of ignorance.  Throughout history, many great teachers over time have and do hold different interpretations to minor matters…but false teachers are professed believers who know the truth but who deliberately teach lies in the hope of promoting themselves or getting financial gain from their followers.  But we know God will ultmately condemn them for their selfish greed.  I like the fact that Peter doesn’t pull any punches when it comes to this very serious topic.

Regarding application…Sad Reality.  Vs. 21, “It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them.”   Pastor John Vernon McGee would once say after his sermons…“Friends, if you came in here today unsaved and you walk out of here unsaved, I am the worst enemy that you have ever had, because you have heard the gospel and you can never go into the presence of God and tell Him that you have never heard the gospel. You have heard it, and it will be worse for you when God pronounces judgment than for any heathen in the darkest part of the earth today.”

This reminds me of Judas Iscariot…Jesus would say it would have been better if Judas had never been born.  This is different from those of us who know what is right, but the flesh is weak.  These are people who deliberately strive to hurt the church and all that it has worked for.  Let us be discerning children of God so we can not only keep from being duped…but also help others be able to keep from following such false teachers.

Introduction – II Peter

Peter’s second letter was written shortly after the first one…around 66 A.D.  This letter was written a little before his martyrdom…Peter could sense his end was near.  Peter puts up warning signs against many of the so called Christians abandoning their faith and going to false beliefs.  The storm clouds are approaching and Peter hopes to warn all Christians on how to fight the good fight.  One of those weapons is knowing the Word & knowing Jesus Christ in our daily lives.  The Christian life is more than “born again”…it is a continual process of maturity & growth.

II Peter 1

Vs. 3, “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.”  The definitive word here is “knowledge”…God has given us His Word as a precious gift.  We see the emphasis of growing in His knowledge from Vs. 5-11, as we possess all of these qualities we grow and are able to continue to be used powerfully by the Lord.  As we look at Scripture, we see the that all of this prophecy has its roots in Jesus Christ & inspired by His Holy Spirit…there is no need to ever doubt the truth!

Regarding application…Always Remind.  Vs. 12, “So I will always remind you of these things, even though you know them and are firmly established in the truth you now have.”  Question: Why would Peter be stressing this so importantly?  Because Peter knew his days were numbered.  Perhaps if he knew he would live to a ripe old age…the urgency wouldn’t be there…but knowing his days were numbered, he was compelled to urgently remind all those who would listen how important it was to continue to grow in the Lord…even if they had it in their head knowledge, he was still going to remind them.  Peter might have sounded like a broken letter, but we can never remind each other enough to love & grow in our Lord Jesus Christ.  That is why we have church, that is why we turn to the Lord in our QT’s, that is why we have Christian accountability (S.A.G.)…the moment we arrogantly think we don’t need to be reminded…well…that’s a pretty powerful indicator that our heart has grown cold.

QT – II Timothy 4

Vs. 7, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”  This records the final inspired thoughts of Paul’s Godly ministry.  It is no suprise to see Paul’s strong appeal to keep the faith & ministry alive!  Paul would exhort Timothy to keep preaching the word (Vs. 2)…and this is so important because we live in a time when even Christians don’t want to hear the Word of the Lord (Vs. 4)…because they just want to hear the feel good messages.  Paul needed to make sure that Timothy would understand that the baton was now passed on to him.  It’s touching to see Paul want to visit with Timothy one last time (Vs. 9).

Regarding application…Loving the World.  Vs. 10, “for Demas, because he loved this world, has deserted me and has gone to Thessalonica...”  Brothers & Sisters…this is such a big thing.  Demas was one of Paul’s trusted workers….Question: Why would he desert Paul in a time when Paul needed him most?”  Because, Demas could not endure the hardships of following God.  Because, Demas might have been scared.  Because, Demas ultimately chose the world rather than God.  We are not talking about the Rich Young Ruler event in Jesus’ ministry…we are talking about a man of God who served Paul & the Lord faithfully…yet when the biggest trial of his life came…he folded.  It’s easy to serve the Lord when all is well…this is what separates the boys from the MEN.  This is what proves whether your walk backs up your talk.  In Demas’s mind, I doubt he was thinking that he was “Loving the world” more than God…but from God’s perspective…either you follow God completely, or you don’t.  There is no compromise.  Either we give up all that we want and follow God…or we don’t.  We can’t try to follow God and follow other things…Jesus would make that quite clear (Matt 6:24).  Question: Will you be Demas or will you be Paul?  Will you love the world or love God?  You must choose only one.

QT – II Timothy 3

Vs. 16, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.”  Amen…what a wonderful passage of scripture to memorize =)  Paul now tells Timothy of what lies ahead for the future church.  Paul begins telling Timothy of the “last days” (Vs. 1).  We see a very sad description of what will come as a challenge for the church in our time today!  The love of self (Vs. 2) will be a dominant factor (Me, Myself & I)…perhaps no other time in history have we seen this self promotion.  Just think…we live in a time where you can literally choose what you want to do!  It’s all about what YOU want.  It’s all about where YOU want to go.  It’s about YOUR choice.  Question: But is it really about You/Us?  Indeed, Paul must have seen a time such as now.

Regarding application…Deception.  Vs. 5, “having a form of godliness but denying its power...”  There is no denying that there are plenty of churches around these days!  The Bible continues to be a world-wide best seller…yet the world is degrading before our very eyes.  It’s very easy to see these type of people and assume they must be Christians.  But more and more…we must do as Jesus said and identify them by the fruit they bare.  True Christians are a minority…not a majority.  We must be very careful not to be deceived by such people.  The danger is that we assume they are Christians and then think it must be okay to act and talk like them.  The pressure & danger of living in a sinful world is getting worse.  We live in a crazy time.  That is why all the more we must be diligent & faithful in in His Word, prayer & fellowship!  We must equip ourselves in His word (Vs. 16) and be constantly aware of the deceivers!  And remember…Paul is not talking about the secular world…he is addressing the church today (which should be even more alarming)!

QT – II Timothy 2

Vs. 15, “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.”  It doesn’t matter if you are a Pastor, teacher, or just member of God’s church…we all have our responsibilities!  Paul uses images of teachers, soldiers, athletes, farmers, workers, vessels, and servants…we are all God’s chosen to be examples in this world we live in.  The enemies are out there…the world (Vs. 4), the flesh (Vs. 22) and Satan (Vs. 26)…but we have no excuse.  We must do our best…give 100% to God!

Regarding application…Watch What You Talk About.  Vs. 16, “Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly.”  We don’t necessarily think of conversation as something against the Lord…yet we are starkly reminded that our very conversations can lead us against God.  Question: What is ungodly chatter?  While Paul was directly speaking to the false teachers teaching lies…I think that the application is very real for us today.  Just because we may not speak heresy against the Bible, does not mean our conversations can never displease God.  We know that taming the tongue (James 3) is a constant thing we must do.  I’ve seen kids with their ipod’s to church blasting secular music and singing along…and then they go to service and sing praise songs.  Hmmmm…something is wrong with this picture.  Question: How do you think God feels?  It’s like your future spouse rambling on and on about all these guys/girls, and then turns to you and says how great you are.  Question: How would you feel?  Indeed…we must be very careful with the type of words that come out of our mouths and the type of conversations we indulge in.

Introduction – II Timothy

Most scholars believe this letter was written right before Paul’s death.  In this letter, Paul offers his final thoughts to Timothy as he again is imprisoned in Rome as a result of the persecution under the emporer Nero in about AD 66 or 67.  Paul writes to remind Timothy what is truly important and means to encourage him in the faith.  This is Paul’s most intimate and moving letter…and his last.  He longs to see Timothy and must know his time on earth is nearing an end.