Peter on the Great Controversy

Scripture: 1 Peter 2:9, Deuteronomy 14:2, 2 Peter 1:16-21
Date: 03/12/2016 
Lesson: 11
"Instead of us being concerned about being accepted by others and conforming to their opinions and their demands and their expectations of us, Peter admonishes believers to be kind and loving to those we come in contact with."
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Welcome to "Sabbath School Study Hour." We're so glad that you are joining us from across the country and around the world like you do every single week. And we're just ready here at Granite Bay seventh day adventist church to praise God in music. And we know that this is a special time for you each week as you join us, and it is special for us here at Granite Bay because we know that our extended family is a part of our church here. And so, we welcome you, whether you're listening on the radio, watching live on our website, or on the various television networks. It doesn't matter, we're just glad that you're joining with us today.

You see the lovely ladies behind me, and today we're going to be singing a couple songs for you. So, I hope that you won't be too devastated that we're not singing your favorite hymns, but we have special-- two special pieces we're going to do for you. The first one is "beautiful Savior," and then "Lord, open up our eyes." [Music] beautiful Savior, king of creation, Son of God and son of man. Truly I'd love thee, truly I'd serve thee, light of my soul, my joy, my crown. Fair is the sunshine, fairer still the moonlight.

Bright are the twinkling starry host. Jesus shines brighter, Jesus shines purer than all the angels heaven can host. [Music] fair are the meadows, fair are the woodlands, robed in flowers of blooming spring. Jesus is fairer, Jesus is purer. He makes our sorrowing spirit sing.

[Music] [music] [music] beautiful Savior, Lord of the nations, Son of God and son of man. Glory and honor, praise, adoration now and forever, forevermore be thine, now and forevermore be thine. Amen, amen. [Music] Lord, open up our eyes. Let there be no disguise of the pain we see.

Lord, open up our hearts to not ignore the cries of a world in need. And open up our ears that we may hear your call to share the hope you freely gave. And open up the path so we will have no fear as we go out to reach the world you came to save. Lord, open up our eyes. Let there be no disguise of the pain we see.

Lord, open up our hearts to not ignore the cries of a world in need. And open up our ears that we may hear your call to share the hope you freely gave. And open up the path so we will have no fear as we go out to reach the world you came to save, as we go out to reach the world you came to save. Debbie: at this time, let's bow our heads for prayer, and then dr. Derose will bring us our lesson study.

Father in Heaven, be with us as we open up Your Word and we study together. And be with dr. Derose as he brings us our lesson study, in Jesus' Name, amen. At this time, our lesson study will be brought to us by dr. David derose.

David derose: well, debbie, musicians, thank you for already blessing us. We're focused on what the Lord does throughout the world. And it really fits in with our studies. We're again continuing our studies on rebellion and redemption. Today, we'll be looking at the 11th lesson, which is entitled "Peter on the Great Controversy.

" So, "Peter on the Great Controversy." As always, we have a free offer. Today's free offer is number 153, offer number 153. It is "the surrender of self." It's one of these classic "Amazing Facts" books written by Joe Crews. And you can get it simply by dialing... That's.

.. So, for any of our viewers in North America, that's what you want to call. If you're outside of the us, you can also get a copy of it by going to, and pick up an online copy of "the surrender of self." It really is one of life's great questions. Are we defined by our past? Are we defined by our past? Well, in today's lesson, we're looking at the life of someone who, from the context of the Great Controversy, we could say had actually disqualified himself from ministry. We're speaking about Peter.

And when we mention the name of Peter, I don't know what comes to your mind, but often when we mention the name of Peter, Peter's failures come to mind. Is that true in your case? Now, you may think of Peter's great testimony to Jesus being The Son of God, the promised one. You may think of Peter leaving everything as a fisherman to follow Jesus. But many people, when they hear the name of Peter, they think of someone who denied Jesus when he most needed someone to stand up for him. They think of someone who fell asleep in the garden of Gethsemane, when Jesus said, "wait here and pray with me.

" They think of someone who constantly throughout the ministry of Jesus was jostling those on either side of him as to whether he would be the greatest or not. Does our past condition who we will be? Well, I invite you to turn in your Bibles for a telling statement about Peter. It comes from Mark chapter 16. Because we're going to be studying the book of Peter and the writings of Peter in the context of the Great Controversy. And I really believe that if you don't read the Bible from the framework of who the author of that particular book is, you're missing something incredible.

Because, after all, even though the Bible, as we'll see in today's study together, as Peter pointed out himself, is not just man's opinions. It is the very Word of God. Holy men spoke as they were moved upon by the Holy Spirit. But if you don't understand who those holy men were, you miss a lot of the power of the books of the Bible. So, I'm turning in my Bible to Mark chapter 16.

And it's a telling verse because Jesus has died, he's been resurrected, and now, as some of the ladies first come to the tomb, the angels have a message for them. And part of that message is one that speaks to us about the author of the two books that we're focusing on in today's lesson. In Mark 16, this is the message of the angel to the ladies there at the tomb. "Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of nazareth, who was crucified.

He has risen. He is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you into Galilee. There you will see him, as he said to you.

" And now, that's strange language, isn't it? "Go tell the disciples and Peter." I mean, after all, wasn't Peter a disciple? The very message given by heaven indicates that Peter was so looking at his past, even the very recent past, that he had judged himself to not be a disciple. He was not worthy to be called a disciple. Now, I don't know how it is for you, but it's very possible in a congregation this size, and especially in those who are joining us from around the world, that there are some viewing today, some sitting here today, who may have crossed themselves off the list of being worthy of taking Jesus' Name. I mean, it's a sad statement. But satan gets us to focus on our past, where we've messed up, so we can say, "I'm, if anything, a second class Christian.

" Well, yes, it's true, we're all unworthy. But the point is Jesus, in his infinite love, sends a message to you this morning. He says, "go tell the disciples and John, and sally, and Peter, and william, and bethany, and juan, and carlos." And the list goes on and on. Are you following along with me? So, the message of the Gospel is that Jesus has a special place for each one of us. And so, Peter takes that experience as he writes his letter.

So, turn with me as we look at Peter's first and second epistles. These are what we call general epistles. What that means is sometimes in the Bible, the author is writing to a specific group of people. Paul, for example wrote the book of Philippians to the church at Philippi. It was a specific letter written to a specific group of people in the town of Philippi, the Christians there.

Well, when we come to Peter's letters, these are called general epistles. That means Peter is writing them to the whole church. And so, as we jump into 1 Peter chapter 1, here's how he introduces his letter. Peter, 1 Peter chapter 1, verse 1. "Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the pilgrims of the dispersion in pontus, galatia, cappadocia, asia, and bithynia, elect according to the foreknowledge of God The Father, in sanctification of the Spirit for obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ, grace to you and peace be multiplied.

" So, here Peter, in a broad sweep is speaking to the whole church. He's speaking to the dispersed people of God throughout Christendom. And as he writes this letter, he writes it from the perspective of the Great Controversy. Because, after all, every one of us has that same background that Peter had. We've all failed.

Paul put it in Romans 3, "all have sinned and come short of the glory of God," right? So, all of us, we can look at our background and we could say, "my background disqualifies me from being who God wants me to be." This past week, I was listening to some of those ted talks. You know, those cutting edge insights that have become so popular in our culture. And I was reading an article, a column written by someone who writes for inc magazine. And they were listing the top 10 ted talks for 2015, top 10 ted talks. And the one that ranked top on this writer's list was a talk given by one of the human resources directors for ups, the united parcel service, woman by the name of regina hartley.

Maybe you've seen it. Over 2 million people have viewed her ted talk. And the theme of that talk was that in hiring practices in business, don't get too preoccupied with a person's resume if it doesn't look all that good. Regina tells her own story of how she was raised by a single parent, five children, in a bad neighborhood in brooklyn, New York. Her dad, paranoid schizophrenic.

I mean, all these strikes against her. And as she tells her own story, and as she makes an appeal to business leaders and others who will be viewing her presentation, she puts it this way. "We talk a lot about post-traumatic stress, but do you also realize there can be something called post-traumatic growth?" And so, what was so interesting to me as I'm listening to this secular presentation, she's saying the very same thing that we see in the life of Peter, and that what God wants to play out in every one of our lives. The things that you would perhaps say in your life you wished to change, God can take those things and use them to empower you to more powerful ministry. It was that way with Peter.

You remember in John chapter 21, Peter, the one who didn't even consider himself a disciple at one point, Peter commission--Peter is commissioned by Jesus to go and do what? Feed his sheep, care for your fellow church members. Well, with that background, let's look at Sunday's lesson. Because we jump right into Peter's thinking. We saw how Peter introduces his letter. And if we had taken the time to look at 1 Peter chapter 1 in detail, we would see that Peter founds the Christian experience on the very same thing that Paul did.

It's a trusting relationship in a God who steps down to save us. We can't just gloss over that because the word has power. Look at 1 Peter chapter 1 just for a moment longer before we look at chapter 2. Peter chapter 1, beginning with verse 3. Peter begins this letter not only with an introduction, but he begins by praising God.

He says in verse 3 of 1 Peter 1, "blessed be the God and father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who, according to his abundant mercy, has begotten us again unto a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled, and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you; who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation, ready to be revealed in the last time." And so, Peter, as he's writing here, the focus is not on the believers. The focus is on who we are in Jesus, that Jesus has a plan for our lives. No matter what we've done, Jesus has a plan. And that plan, it is kept, it's guaranteed for us in heaven. And we have that because of God's grace, and through our faith trusting in God's power.

So, with that background, we jump into chapter 2. And that's where the focus was in Sunday's lesson. In 1 Peter chapter 2, we're exposed to a thought that occurs recurrently actually in the Bible in a number of times in the new testament. Let's begin reading in verse 9, verses 9 and 10. It's speaking about those who have rejected Jesus in the verses preceding, but now Peter turns his attention to the church.

Peter chapter 2, beginning with verse 9. "But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, his own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of him who has called you out of darkness into his marvelous light; who once were not a people, but are now the people of God; who had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy." So again, Peter is writing from this perspective of one who knew what it was like to not feel like he was part of the inside group, to feel like he had messed up, to feel like he wasn't worthy of being labeled a follower of Jesus. And he's saying he's not having confidence in himself. His confidence is in that he is one of the chosen. Do you realize that from the foundation of the world, God has chosen every human being to be a part of his family? And in Jesus' sacrifice on the cross, provision was made for every single person to share in that gift of salvation.

And so, as Peter is writing about that, he's not only focusing on this fact that we are called and chosen, but he's saying that we actually have a job description. Did you catch it? It's perhaps a radical job description. He says every member of the church is called to be a priest. Now, I know this may raise some eyebrows in certain circles, but the reformers caught this very clearly. They spoke about the priesthood of all believers.

It was not just some elite class that could have a contact with God and could share God's messages. God has called his people to be a holy priesthood. And by the way, this does not just occur once, as I mentioned, in the new testament. If you go back a few verses, you see even in verse 5 as Peter is using analogies to describe a church that is made up of a diverse group of people. People from all walks of life are brought into the church.

They are being built, he said, if you look at verses 4 and 5 of chapter 2, into a temple. And we are a holy priesthood. You can read about that again in Revelation chapter 1 and in Revelation chapter 20. Now, sometimes we get so preoccupied about roles in the church that we miss that we have this collective calling. No, I'm not saying that everyone is called to minister as a physician.

I happen to have that calling. I don't believe that everyone is called to be a physician. I don't believe that everyone is called to be a pastor, but the priesthood of all believers means that every believer is called to share in these priestly roles that God has entrusted the church with. It is really the task of reflecting Jesus. Because the Bible points out--just read the book of Hebrews that what the priesthood was all about.

What was it all about? The priesthood was all about revealing Jesus. So, when God calls a people to be a priestly people, what is he calling us to do? He's calling us, just as people wrote here in 1 Peter 2, to show forth his glory, to proclaim his glory. And so it is. God takes this diverse group of people from different backgrounds, with different pasts, where we might say, "well, I can't really represent Jesus very well because I'm blind. I can't see.

I've come from the slums. I can't do anything for Jesus." But those very things in our background, when we accept God's grace and his forgiveness, God can use those things to empower our witness in ways that it wouldn't speak had we not had such a background. Are you following along with me? And so, the very things that satan was pressing down on you about today, why you shouldn't go to church, why you're not worthy, God is telling you, "those are the very things that equip you for service to me." Now, satan is smart enough that he has more than one modus operandi. And if he's not trying to get us to drive ourselves into the dirt, he's trying to get us to think about how much better we are than everyone else. You realize that? And that's what the disciples dealt with for much of their time when they were walking with Jesus.

But we've got this calling. God calls us out of darkness into his marvelous light. And with that background, we now jump a little bit further in the story. Monday's lesson calls us to pay attention to 1 Peter chapter 4. Now, whenever we highlight themes in a biblical book, or in this case in two biblical books, Peter's first and second letters, there's a danger of missing some of the overarching themes in the book.

And I'd like to suggest to you that two of the overarching themes, maybe I'll give you three, in Peter's first letter, one is a focus on knowledge. One is a focus on knowledge. So, if you'll look at 1 Peter chapter 1, verse 2, just give you some heads up here, you see in verse 2 we're elect according to the foreknowledge of God The Father. But then, as you go down to verse 3, we looked at this, and in verse 4, you see God's calling for us. But as you read through what God has called us to be, part of that devolves along understanding who God is.

Look at chapter 3, for example, verse 18. Peter 3, verse 18. This emphasis on knowing Jesus and knowing his work, he keeps pointing us back to Jesus' example, to knowing him. "For Christ," 1 Peter 3, verse 18, "also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but made alive by the Spirit." So, as he's giving us glimpses in this letter, he's speaking about the importance of knowledge, but it's not knowledge that's some abstract knowledge that we go to universities to learn. But it's the knowledge of Jesus.

It's having a relationship with him. And as you read through his letter, there's these glimpses that come up over and over again of who Jesus is. And he's trying to root us in the knowledge of who Jesus is. I told you there's some other foundational concepts in Peter's first letter. Another foundational concept is this concept of unity, this concept of oneness.

And so, he writes to the whole church. He's not writing just to a distinct group of believers. And in chapter 2, we already saw that he calls us as a body to represent ourselves, or to be represented as a temple, to be represented as a holy priesthood. And then you see as he writes on in chapters 2 and into chapter , he speaks about mutual submission, mutual submission. Now, this is not necessarily a popular view in the world today.

Most people today, in fact especially in an election year, are focused on calling attention, at least as we listen to political candidates, what are they trying to call attention to? That's right, they're trying to call attention to themselves. "Here's why you should vote for me. Here's why this person is not worthy to be running for this office." And whether they say those things in those words, the focus is you have got to identify with me. In the Christian experience, the focus is totally different. The focus is on what? It's on Jesus and what he's called us to be collectively.

So, let's look at this because, as we're talking about 1 Peter and Peter's insights into this, we're pointed to Peter chapter 4. And it starts out by again focusing us on knowing Jesus, on knowing what he was like. Look at it with me, 1 Peter chapter 4, beginning with verse 1. "Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind. For he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin.

That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh for the lusts of men, but for the will of God. For we have spent enough of our past lifetime in doing the will of the gentiles." So, now he's speaking about the background that we all come from. Now, some of you say, "well, I don't come from a gentile background. I was raised in a Christian home." But just listen because all of us have this same sinful past. May not read exactly as Peter expresses this.

Remember, he's writing to a church, a dispersed church throughout the gentile world, okay? So, let's keep--let's keep reading. "Doing the will of the gentiles." I'm jumping into the middle of verse 3 of chapter 4, 1 Peter. "When we walked in lewdness, lusts, drunkenness, revelries, drinking, parties, and abominable idolatries. In regard to these, they think it strange that you do not run with them in the same flood of dissipation, speaking evil of you. They will give an account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead.

" And then skipping on to verse 7, "but the end of all things is at hand. Therefore, be serious and watchful in your prayers, and above all things have fervent love for one another, for love will cover a multitude of sins." As Peter writes his first letter, he's speaking about the importance of unity in the body, of loving one another. And he makes this one of the great priorities as he's writing to the church. I told you I was recently viewing a number of ted talks. Another one that made that list of top ten in one author's mind is one that was presented by a fellow from France.

And boy, I'll tell you, some of you I know have mastered the french language. I'm going to do my best reading m-o-r-i-e-u-x. How about morieux? Is that close enough, morieux? Some of you are smiling, nodding your heads, so I'm glad those of you that don't know french are giving me some affirmation. But yves morieux is presenting back in the summer of 2015, and he's talking about what he sees as a problem in our world. And that problem as he defines it is falling productivity across the european union, in japan, in the United States.

And morieux suggests that the problem is where our focus is when it comes to world business. He says our focus is often distilled in some catch concepts. And one of those catch concept phrases is a threefold phrase that is often talked about in the business world: clarity, measurement, and accountability. Clarity, measurement, and accountability. And as morieux goes through his presentation, that brief presentation, he says that, "if you want to understand the problem with the world today, I want to take you to an analogy.

" And he brings his viewers and listeners to the analogy of a footrace. Now, some of you have already seen that Peter is using that language in his first letter. Paul used it when he wrote to the church in corinth. And so, morieux focuses us, if you will, collectively now as we're talking about his presentation, he focuses us on a world championship race. It is a relay race.

The eight fastest four woman teams in the world are competing in this race. And as morieux is painting the picture, he says that everything is postured for the United States to win this race. They have the fastest team. And as you measure this team, you will see that as you project things out, they should beat the french team by some 20 feet. Now, 20 feet in a race that lasts less than a minute is a huge margin.

You following along with me? He actually shows you the metrics. Woman after woman, those four women on the us team, looks at the four women on the french team. And there is no comparison. The United States is destined to win. And in fact, they are the favorite team to win.

And so, as he actually plays the clip of this race, you see it playing out just as you would expect, with the final runners, the fourth runner on each team running, and who is in the lead? The United States. The woman in the lead that year won the gold medal for the 100 meter run. So, it's over, right? But amazing of amazing, the french woman overtakes her American rival, and the french win. Now, morieux, being the good frenchman that he is, and giving some good nationalistic depreciating humor, says that he had to work for a very long time to find something that made the french look good. But I'm sure he didn't work all that hard.

What's the point of his story, and what does it have to do with what Peter is writing about? Morieux, as he analyzes the french victory, shows a slow motion clip of the third runner on the french team. As that third woman is running, at the end of her portion of the relay, she has to hand the baton off to the final runner on the french team. Morieux draws our attention to not the woman's legs. She's obviously not putting all her energy just into running because, as you look at her face and you see her expression, what she is doing is she is encouraging the next runner to win the race. She is putting her energies into helping make someone else successful.

Morieux's point, whether it's true or not, is that the french won the race because here was a team that was willing to focus on their collective vision, not just on individual performance. And as I listened to his presentation as I'm studying Peter's letter, I said, "what is coming across as cutting edge, multi-million view presentations on the internet is just what we've got in our own Bibles." How is it in your church--and I'm not just speaking of the Granite Bay church, as we have people listening to us from around the world. Some are listening because they feel disenfranchised from their own church. They feel there's not a place for them. But we're part of a world church.

And God is calling for each one of us to do just what Peter said: forget the things that are behind, don't go back to that old way of living. God wants to empower you to be someone who makes a difference in a body, in a body. Well, there's some pitfalls along the way. I want to hasten over to Wednesday's lesson because some of the pitfalls in this process of reflecting Jesus, of knowing him, showing his character, and being unified come in the form of two particular areas of temptation. And I'd like to highlight those for you by first going to Peter chapter 3.

That's the focus in Wednesday's lesson. Now, we're in Peter's second general epistle. And if you read that second epistle in its entirety, you can see clearly that Peter, under inspiration, knew that he was soon to die. So, this was written sometime around 66 or 67 ad, shortly before Peter was martyred for his faith. And by the way, if you're looking for the biblical reference, it's in 2 Peter chapter 1, verses 12 through 15, where Peter clearly says that he is given a vision, he is given by inspiration word that he is soon to lay down his life.

But in 2 Peter chapter 3, we read about one of the pitfalls in the Christian life. Let's begin reading 2 Peter chapter 3, beginning with verse 1. "Beloved, I write now to you this second epistle, in both of which I stir up your pure minds by way of reminder, that you may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Savior. Knowing this first, that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to 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 creation?' For this they willfully forget that by the Word of God, the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water, by which the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water. But the heavens and the earth, which are now preserved by the same word, are reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of Godly men.

" Peter is exposing us to one of the great dangers that can derail us from our corporate call to reflect Jesus as his priestly people. One of the things that can derail us, did you catch it, are scoffers. What are scoffers? "Pfft, oh, come on, do you really believe that stuff?" Now listen, the context of what we've been looking at is the world is telling us the principles in the Bible about don't writing yourself off because you've got a bad resume, of working together and you'll accomplish more, be a body, realize you're a priesthood, realize you're a temple. These are cutting edge concepts. And you know what happens in Christendom? In Christendom, when we see the world echoing biblical principles, what do we do? "Oh, we knew that all along.

I'm a Christian. I'm a seventh day adventist, knew that all along. The health message? Oh yeah, we knew all about that." We're quick to sign on to say, "yeah, we had that all figured out." Peter chapter 3 is focusing our minds on something that really is the Great Controversy personified in our age. You realize that this idea of uniformitarianism, this idea that everything has been the same, the rocks are eroding at just a gradual rate, and it's been like this for millions and millions of years. The theory of evolution is really, I believe, being called into focus here.

No, I don't think Peter was necessarily given a vision of charles darwin. But the point here is we're reading about people who, according to verse 5, willfully forget. And you can say, "oh, now that's a pretty big thing to pin on someone that someone is willfully doing something?" After all, many of you, like me, were raised in an environment where evolution was truth. And we're speaking about macro evolution, that things evolved over millions of years. I was not raised understanding a biblical worldview.

And so, I grew up taking secular science classes even at the university level that were based on evolution. But look even just for a moment at Romans chapter 1 when you have a chance. And Paul says that every single one of us, every person on the planet, our senses are telling us there is a creator. And I'll tell you, I'll tell you, from a medical standpoint, I cannot explain the human body. There is not enough time in millions or even billions of years for the human body, with its amazing orchestration, with hormones being made by the gut that speak to the gall bladder, and then speak to the brain, and wiring in your neck that is monitoring your blood pressure through baroreceptors, speaking to your heart and speaking to your brain, and a whole enteric nervous system going from the brain down to your intestines.

What I'm talking about is these interlocking systems. How do those things evolve? These things speak to us of design. And if those analogies fly by us too quickly, or if they're questioned, just Google steven meyer, dr. Stephen meyer of the discovery institute. Dr.

Meyer is telling us just look at the genetic code. It is a language. It is a language. And everywhere we see language around us, it speaks of intelligence. The point is that I'm trying to make, on a certain level, every one of us realizes there is a creator.

And I would suggest to you that the biblical account of creation is compelling. There is no account in antiquity that speaks with such clarity as the Genesis account. Really, I mean, think about it for a minute. Those secularists who want to tell us the Bible is just a storybook, you read all the stories of origins in antiquity and you will not find anything like the Genesis account of a God speaking and it coming to pass. Oh yes, there's cosmic battles, there's Gods, there's cosmic eggs that are hatching, and that's how the world was created.

Listen, the Genesis account speaks with authority to us. And so it is there's these scoffers. They say, "no, it's not true, the Bible isn't true." And when the things are controverted in the world, then what do Christians do? Well, Peter tells us what we should do. Peter actually tells us that we should be ready to give a reason for the hope that is in us. That's found in 1 Peter chapter 3.

Well, there's one other danger that we need to talk about, and it ties back into one of the themes that Peter is speaking of. If we realize that we're God's called and chosen people, he points out that we are to be like the priesthood of old. You remember the priests of old had something that was emblazoned on their mitre. Do you remember what it said? Holiness to the Lord, holiness to the Lord. God calls us to be a holy people.

And when I look in the mirror, or when I reflect on my bed, I sometimes don't look all that holy. And I'm so thankful that I have so many good friends who didn't say amen just then. I appreciate that. But the point is God is trying to do a work in us. Let's look at Thursday's lesson, 2 Peter chapter 3, verses 8 through 14.

Peter chapter 3, verses 8 through 14. Peter is closing this last of his letters, and he is giving some closing words of encouragement, beginning with verse 14 in chapter 3. "Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by him in peace without spot and blameless." Oh my, this is starting to get discouraging. How can we be without spot and blameless? What Peter is trying to do is give us a picture of what we can be in Jesus. My confidence is not in me.

My confidence is in realizing that I have a Savior not only who died in my place, but is willing to live out his life through me. And so, when we realize that, we can come together as a body. We can encourage one another. It's not a competition. It's how can we fulfill our calling? And we go on because our calling is spelled out right here, at least one aspect to it.

Verse 15, "consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; as also our beloved Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of Scriptures." As Peter is writing here, he is saying that one of the other dangers we face are from religious people. So, we have the scoffers, who are outside the church, saying the Bible is irrelevant. And what I'm trying to remind you of is even the secular world continues to give us evidence that the Bible's true. But just where the world hasn't caught up, don't let us throw away the truths that we should be holding to. By the way, if I were to make an appeal to the church here and to the church at large, I would say we should be doing more as a church with creation science evangelism, okay? But let's come back to Peter's thinking, back to verse 10 now of 2 Peter 3.

"The day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat. Both the earth and the works that are therein will be burned up. Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and Godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God? Because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat. Nevertheless, we according to his promise look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells." The ultimate fulfillment comes when Christ returns to this earth, when this earth is recreated after the millennium, when everything is perfected. But God wants to continue to do a work of perfection in our own lives.

No, I'm not there yet. I know you're not either. But we don't have to be pointing fingers at one another. We can be holding each other up. Some of this still seems a bit elusive? Well, the good news is we can continue to study together.

And we also have a resource for you that actually fits in just seamlessly with what we've been talking about, Joe Crews' classic book "the surrender of self." That's yours free, offer 153. If you're in North America, call... That's... And our viewers from throughout the world can actually pick that up online at Well, we've got our charge, right? A high calling.

We're to go forth to hold up each other's hands, and to live for Jesus. Doug Batchelor: hello, friends. I have a big announcement. I want to tell you about an exciting evangelistic opportunity that will be coming to your church this spring. Beginning March 21, "Amazing Facts" in partnership with 3abn and the carolina conference will be presenting a fresh new, -part tv series called "the last day of prophecy.

" This unique prophecy program will present the Sabbath truth and the three angels messages in a winsome way that your friends and family will really appreciate. It's the ideal occasion to invite your community and introduce them to the beauty of the Sabbath. This is also the perfect time in history for a net evangelistic program like this. It's not too late. Plan now to get your church or home group involved in this soul-winning program.

For more information, go to And of course, please remember to pray for the success of this program. "The last day of prophecy," March 21, 7 p.m. Eastern time. [Music] Doug: have you ever heard a mouse howl like a wolf? Well, what would you expect would happen when a creature changes its destiny from the hapless prey to mighty predator? From the outside, they look very much like just an oversized field mouse.

Cute brown fur, white on the underbelly, nice little beady eyes. But that's where the similarities stop. Grasshopper mice are very unusual, making them the objects of great interest for animal researchers. These furry little creatures are found in the harsh deserts of North America. They're very territorial in nature, and they will monopolize and fend off 25 acres.

They don't build their own homes, but sort of confiscate the burrows and the homes of other creatures. They're not called grasshopper mice because they hop around, but it's because they eat a lot of grasshoppers. In fact, scientists have discovered grasshopper mice are the only mice that are purely carnivorous. They hunt much like cats or weasels, stalking their pray in a predatory fashion. And when they pounce, they are ferocious, sometimes even taking on snakes and scorpions and centipedes.

When a grasshopper mouse gets into a fierce battle with a snake or a scorpion or centipede, they may be bit or stung several times. But what is amazing to researchers is they've noticed when they are bitten, they somehow shake it off because they convert the toxin in the venom to painkiller. I think you can understand why this information would be of special interest to scientists that are trying to discover new ways for people to deal with chronic pain. One of the most intriguing characteristics of these little creatures is when they're defending their territory or celebrating a victory over some adversary, they'll throw back their head and let out this earthshaking howl. That's a mousy howl.

Check it out. [Howling] the grasshopper mouse is not the only member of creation that can survive encounters with venomous predators. In Luke 10:19, it says, "behold, I will give you authority to trample on serpents and scorpions and over all the power of the enemy. Nothing will by any means hurt you." We don't have to be the biggest and the strongest to defeat our enemy and let out that victory roar. When God called David to be king, no human would have guessed that he had it in him.

He was young and insignificant. From the outside, he looked like there was no greatness in him. But when God looked at his heart, he saw courage, humility, compassion, and love. David wasn't perfect, and he made mistakes. But through God's power, he was able to conquer giants.

Friend, God does not intend that you live out the rest of your life cowering and trembling like a little field mouse. If God can take the grasshopper mouse and give him courage so that he fights snakes and scorpions and centipedes, if God can put in the heart of David the courage to fight giants like Goliath, then he can give you that same courage. The Scriptures say God has not given you the Spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind. And you can have that peace in your heart when you invite the prince of peace in your heart. Why don't you do that right now? [Music] Female: "Amazing Facts" has impacted my life.

Male: and I just praise God for "Amazing Facts." Male: "Amazing Facts" actually did have an impact on my life. Male: this whole process, getting to where I am today. Male: I feel good about that. I did feel good at the end. Female: I began reading the Bible.

Male: I realized that there had to be more to life. Male: God is really doing this. Male: the life that he's given me. Male: this message was so powerful. Male announcer: "Amazing Facts," more than 45 years of proclaiming God's message around the world.

Male: and then the logo pops across, "Amazing Facts presents." I've listened to a lot of different ministers, but this was the first time that he's actually saying something where I had to grab my Bible and actually pick it up, and, "I never heard this before. Let me look through and find this." Then I just couldn't get enough. Male: and so, I started doing Bible studies. Every single one of these guys started being changed, including myself. Female: my question was, why did that happen to me, God? the Lord was able to reach out, and I actually saw him as a father.

Female: I lost everything. And that was when I realized that it was God missing in my life. Male: I went to a prophecy seminar, which knocked me out. This message was so powerful and so irrefutable, and I just went, "this is real. This is--this is amazing.

" Announcer: did you know that Noah was present at the birth of Abraham? Okay, maybe he wasn't in the room, but he was alive and probably telling stories about his floating zoo. From the creation of the world to the last day events of Revelation, is a free resource where you can explore major Bible events and characters. Enhance your knowledge of the Bible and draw closer to God's Word. Go deeper. Visit the amazing Bible timeline at Announcer: for life-changing Christian resources, visit Or call... [Music]

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