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Isaiah 26:1-3 1
1 In that day this song will be sung in the land of Judah: We have a strong city; God makes salvation its walls and ramparts. 2 Open the gates that the righteous nation may enter, the nation that keeps faith. 3 You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.

img172Background 2

Isaiah prophesied in the reigns of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah. He has been well called the evangelical prophet, on account of his numerous and full prophesies concerning the coming and character, the ministry and preaching, the sufferings and death of the Messiah, and the extent and continuance of his kingdom. Under the veil of the deliverance from Babylon, Isaiah points to a much greater deliverance, which was to be effected by the Messiah; and seldom does he mention the one, without alluding at the same time to the other; nay, he is often so much enraptured with the prospect of the more distant deliverance, as to lose sight of that which was nearer, and to dwell on the Messiah’s person, office, character, and kingdom.

Biblical Truths 3

“In that day,” seems to mean when the New Testament Babylon shall be leveled with the ground. The unchangeable promise and covenant of the Lord are the walls of the church of God. The gates of this city shall be open. Let sinners then be encouraged to join to the Lord. Thou wilt keep him in peace; in perfect peace, inward peace, outward peace, peace with God, peace of conscience, peace at all times, in all events. Trust in the Lord for that peace, that portion, which will be forever. Whatever we trust to the world for, it will last only for a moment; but those who trust in God shall not only find in him, but shall receive from him, strength that will carry them to that blessedness which is forever. Let us then acknowledge him in all our ways, and rely on him in all trials.

Items for Discussion

  • What does “steadfast” mean to you? 4
    • fixed in intensity or direction; steady
    • unwavering or determined in purpose, loyalty, etc. steadfast resolve
  • How is the characteristics of a steadfast God good for mankind and how are they bad for mankind?
  • Why do you think Isaiah is calling on the “entire nation” to be faithful to God?
  • What happens to the nation (the people) when some in a nation are faithful and some are not?
  • Isaiah mentions (perfect peace, keeping faith and steadfast minds – Why do you think these three attributes are interlinked?
  • What are the kinds of peace God is promising?

 

2 PETER 3:8-13
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. 9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. 10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare. 11 Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives 12 as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. 13 But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells.

Background 5

The Apostle Peter was in Rome when he wrote this letter. He expected to die soon. Peter died on a cross about 35 years after Christ’s death. At that time Nero, who was the ruler in Rome, was killing Christians. Peter did not tell us who he was sending this letter to. In 3:1, he referred to this letter as his ‘second letter’. We believe that 1 Peter was his first letter to these readers. So, the readers of both letters were probably the same people. They were Christians who lived in Turkey. Peter probably wrote this letter to both Jews and Gentiles who had become Christians.

Peter wrote this letter for three reasons:

  1.  He wanted the people to be stronger Christians.
  2.  He wanted to warn them about false teachers. He also wanted to remind them about the true Christian beliefs.
  3.  He emphasized that Jesus Christ will return. Then God will judge the wicked. So, Christians must be ready for that day.

Bible Truths{ref]http://www.easyenglish.info/bible-commentary/2peter-lbw.htm[/ref]

Verse 8: In verse 5, the false teachers did not remember what God had done in the past. But in verse 8, Peter did not want his ‘dear friends’ to forget what God had done. The Lord’s time is not the same as time in this world. To the Lord, 1000 years in this world may be like a day (Psalm 90:4). This is often hard for people to understand. But God is the ruler of time. A person may think that a period is a very long time. But it may be a very short time to God. People like things to happen quickly. But sometimes nothing seems to happen. This does not mean that God has forgotten.

Verse 9: God will always keep his promises. Many people thought that Jesus should have returned already. But Peter explained that God is willing to wait. He is not slow, as people may think. But he is patient. God loves everyone. He sent Jesus to free people from their sins (John 3:16). God is waiting because he does not want anyone to die. He ‘desires that all people… will come to know the truth about Jesus’ (1 Timothy 2:4). God wants all people to turn back from their wrong ways. He wants to give people more time to obey him.

Verse 10: Jesus will not continue to wait forever. Jesus said that people would not know when would return (Luke 12:39-40). People do not expect a thief to come suddenly to their house in the middle of the night. In a similar way, Jesus will suddenly return to this world. God will not give people any more time to obey him. Instead, Jesus will come to judge them. When Jesus comes, the sky will disappear with a fierce roar. Fire will burn up the earth and everything on it.

Verse 11: Since the present world will end like this, Christians must live holy lives. People who do not know God say, ‘Eat and drink. Be happy’ (Luke 12:19). They just want to enjoy themselves now. But God will punish people who do not obey him (chapter 2). So, Peter encouraged the Christians to be holy (see also 1 Peter 1:15-16). ‘Holy’ means to be separate from evil things and to belong to God. When Jesus returns he will reward Christians (2 Peter 1:10-11 and 1 Peter 1:3-5).

Verse 12: Peter did not want to frighten Christians. He repeated here what he spoke about in verse 10. Christians should eagerly expect the day when Jesus returns to this world. Then they will encourage that day to arrive. It will come as people pray ‘We want your kingdom to come’. And it will come as Christians tell the good news about Jesus to other people (Matthew 24:14). It will come as Christians obey God.

Verse 13: Christians can expect with joy what God has promised after his judgment. Peter uses words from Isaiah 65:17 when he wrote about ‘a new heaven and a new earth’. Everyone will obey God. No wicked people will live there. The false teachers will have no place there. Sin will never spoil anything again. It will be a wonderful place to live.

Items for Discussion

  • What goes through your mind when you think about the day Christ will come back?
  • Since we don’t know when, how is it Peter wants us to prepare?
  • How would you describe a holy and godly life in our world today?
  • Why, if we are saved by Christ’s death and forgiven for our sins, is Peter telling us we still need to be repentant and change our lives?
  •  Why do you think there is such a preoccupation from some in our world about its end?
    • We don’t know when it will come
    • We will all die anyway and probably die before the end of our world
  • Christ’s return is clearly described as a time of separation, those who will reside in God’s kingdom forever and those who will not. What is the best part of living where “righteousness dwells?”

Discussion Challenge

  • How can a Christian prepare themselves and others for the “thief in the night?”
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