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Monday, November 17, 2 Peter Chapter 2
This chapter begins with the discussion of false teachers. Jude has a similar description of the problem. An important point is that truth and lies exist all round us and we have to be able to discern which is which. These false teachers were Gnostics.
The reference to Noah reminds us that God will rescue us from destruction. We need not die with the rest of the world.
The people who follow their filthy bodily lusts and despise God’s authority, GNT will even challenge the angels. They are only interested in themselves.
Verse 15, Balaam was one of the old gods worshiped in the region, one that the Israelites often reverted to themselves over the centuries.
Verse 19 is a powerful statement about sin: They promise them liberty. Liberty!—when they themselves are bound hand and foot to utter depravity. For a man is the slave of whatever masters him. Phillips Better to never know Jesus than to turn against him rather than obey and follow the Master.
Tuesday, November 18, 2 Peter Chapter 3
We cannot forget that God destroyed the world once with water and will destroy it again with fire. When? Verses 9-10: But do not forget one thing, my dear friends! There is no difference in the Lord’s sight between one day and a thousand years; to him the two are the same. The Lord is not slow to do what he has promised, as some think. Instead, he is patient with you, because he does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants all to turn away from their sins. GNT The end will come like a thief. NIV
Look forward to that time and prepare for it. The fire will destroy sin, so we need to avoid sin.
Peter recommends reading the letters of Paul. But do not twist his sayings to fit what you want. Seek to understand the truth of his message.
The last recorded word from Simon Peter to the world is Amen, ‘may it be so’.
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Wednesday, November 19, 1 John Chapter 1
Unlike most of the New Testament letters, none of these three are identified by the author. None-the-less, everyone from the early church identified the author as John the Apostle and there is little disagreement today. The writing has so much in common with the Gospel of John and was clearly written by an old man that they are almost impossible to have been written by anyone else. John was the only one left who knew Jesus personally.
These letters were probably written around 90 AD, near the time of John’s writing of Revelation followed closely by his death. If anyone doubts the authorship, verse 1 should answer the question: The Word, which gives life! He existed from the beginning. We have heard him, we have seen him with our eyes, we have contemplated him, we have touched him with our hands! CJB
If anyone still doubts, the next few verses are so much like the first part of the Gospel that the case is solid: John wrote both.
If we claim to be without sin NIV is a common theme in the New Testament and the solution is always the same: the blood which his Son shed for us keeps us clean from all sin. Phillips
Thursday, November 20, 1 John Chapter 2
I write this to you so that you will not sin. NIV John is not claiming he is without sin, nor does he suggest we can be without sin. He only wants to encourage us to avoid sin. But when we fail, He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins. NIV
In verse 7 John points out that the command to love is an old one, found in Deuteronomy 6:5 and Leviticus 19:18, restated and commanded by Jesus as well.
John expands the idea with Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates a brother or sister is still in the darkness. NIV
Verse 15 takes the idea farther. Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. NIV We live in the world and the world is filled with sin. We must live in the world, but we do not have to live in sin. We must learn to shun the sin of the world, not with hate but with love. Love what is good.
John says we are in the last times, that the antichrist has come, then adds even now many antichrists have come. NIV He understands that the things described by Jesus will happen over and over. Which antichrist will be the last one? We cannot know.
Who is the liar? It is whoever denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a person is the antichrist—denying the Father and the Son. NIV Remain in union with him. GNT
Friday, November 21, 1 John Chapter 3
Children of God. What a blessing to work for. God loves us and by His Grace He forgives us our sins. He wants us to work to become perfect and forgives us when we fail. But we must stay the course. The only alternative is to give in to sin.
How do we avoid sin? Think of other people. Put yourself in their place. Do you want someone to say that about you? Do you want someone to do that to you? Build up, do not tear down. As an example, I once called a student (high school) ignorant in class. That, while it was true, was a tear down. Something like, ‘you still have much to learn’, would have been more helpful.
We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love each other. NIV To love is life, to hate is death. Only love can defeat death.
In this age of constant warfare, refugees, and homelessness, death is ever present even before physical death. Being forced to leave all you have known, to have no firm home, is to face death. Only love can conquer that death. Only feeding the homeless out of love can defeat that death. Only smiling with a refugee and sharing a moment of his suffering can relief come. Sometimes all we can do is be there; hold a man’s hand as he dies, weep with the mother whose child just died, stopping for just a second to say hello to someone sitting on the sidewalk.
Verse 17: If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? NIV
Be righteous and do good.