Category Archives: 2 Peter

2 Peter 1:1-11: Fully Equipped

“The Princess Diaries” stars Anne Hathaway. It’s a movie about Mia, an average 15 year old , growing up in San Francisco. Life for Mia is pretty normal, filled with the usual teenage struggles. Until one day she discovers she’s actually A PRINCESS. The heir apparent of the small European country of Genovia. Her grandmother, the Queen of Genovia, comes to America to tell her about her inheritance. Her father, who left before Mia was born, has just died, and Mia’s next in line for the throne. More wealth, power, and influence than she could ever imagine. And it’s all hers. Actually, it was all hers BEFORE HER GRANDMA ARRIVED. But she just didn’t KNOW about it. Once she had THE KNOWLEDGE, she was able to ACCESS that wealth. Begin to live the life she was BORN to.

And it’s that sort of message Peter’s bringing in his letter. He’s written the letter because there are false teachers around promising all sorts of things. We’ll find out more about them in Ch 2. But for the moment, it’s enough to know that they’re dragging Christians away, tempting them to look for something BIGGER AND BETTER.

And Peter’s answer to the challenge is simple. Christians don’t NEED something bigger and better. Because they ALREADY HAVE everything they need to live a godly life. They just need to KNOW about it.

KNOWLEDGE is the key. Look there in verse 2.

2 Grace and peace be yours in abundance through THE KNOWLEDGE of God and of Jesus our Lord.

Same thing again in v3. Have a look at it.

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.

Whatever you need for a godly life comes through your KNOWLEDGE of Jesus. You’ll be thoroughly equipped. Fully spec’ed.

Which says something firstly to you if you’re NOT a Christian. A full and complete and satisfying life – the life God intended you to live – doesn’t come ANY OTHER WAY than through KNOWING JESUS.

It doesn’t come through having a hot boyfriend. Or blitzing the HSC. It doesn’t come from a top job, plenty of money or friends. It doesn’t come from sporting success, or a great car. It doesn’t come from an overseas gap year, or getting into the best Uni course.

So, if you’re LOOKING for satisfaction, or contentment, or fulfilment, in any of those areas. If that’s the SOLE objective of your life at the moment. Then GIVE UP. It WON’T WORK.

God MADE you. And he knows how you work BEST. Get to KNOW Jesus instead.

And you’re in the right place this weekend to DO that.

But v3 also has something to say to those of you who ARE Christians.

You can be completely decked out as a Christian simply by GETTING TO KNOW JESUS BETTER. There’s no secret NEXT LEVEL. No inside info on becoming that super-Christian.

Which is a great thing to be reassured of. Because it’s tempting sometimes, to think you’re MISSING OUT. That there has to be something MORE.

Perhaps you look at your non-Christian friends. And you’re just that little bit jealous. Just occasionally. They seem to have such a good life. A COMPLETE life. They have the best PARTIES, the best Fun, the most FRIENDS. They DRINK what they want, smoke what they want. Sleep with whoever they want.

They get to download the latest pirated movies or X-Box games, or burned music CD’s. They never miss out on sport on Sundays. No rules, no restrictions, nothing holding them back from enjoying EVERYTHING life has to offer.

And you feel like you’re missing out.

Well, Peter’s antidote is simple – It’s KNOWLEDGE.

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.

And that’s what Peter’s letter goes on to DO. Fill us in with knowledge about Jesus.

1. Knowing what Jesus has done (1-4a)

And first up, knowing what Jesus has DONE.

V3. We’ve already looked at it. Jesus is described as the one who’s CALLED US by his own glory and goodness. He has a PLAN and a PURPOSE for us.

If you’re a Christian, you’ve been Chosen for a REASON. That means you’re SIGNIFICANT. You’re not IRRELEVANT and POINTLESS. You have VALUE and MEANING.

Even if you don’t know what that IS yet. Even if you’re not sure how you fit into the world. Jesus does. Keep getting to know him better. And you’ll get to know your place in his world as you do.

But THAT’S not all. There’s more. Jesus doesn’t just CALL you. He EQUIPS you for the task as well. His divine power has given us EVERYTHING WE NEED FOR A GODLY LIFE. He’s the king who’s chosen you for a royal mission. He’s knighted you, commissioned you with a quest. The mission of living a godly life.

Then he’s given you to the key to the royal armoury. The divine arsenal of the heavenly king placed at your disposal. The power of God himself. So you’re THOROUGHLY EQUIPPED.

No wonder Peter says we’ve got EVERYTHING WE NEED!

2. Knowing what we must do

And you can see what the mission IS there in the NEXT part of v4. Why has Jesus called us?

(2 Pet 1:4 NIV)  …so that through them (his great and precious promises) you may PARTICIPATE IN THE DIVINE NATURE and ESCAPE THE CORRUPTION IN THE WORLD CAUSED BY EVIL DESIRES.

Which is the second section in the outline. Knowing what WE MUST DO.

But what does it MEAN? Sounds a bit WEIRD, doesn’t it. Your purpose in life is to PARTICIPATE in THE DIVINE NATURE. It’s really just another way of saying becoming like Jesus. Or to live a godly life (like v3 says).

But there’s a hard-edged element to what Peter’s talking about. Participation in the divine nature. It SOUNDS soft and wimpy. It SOUNDS like it’s about meditating, wearing a long white robe, doing YOGA.

But look at how he describes it. Participating in the divine nature is about ESCAPING THE CORRUPTION OF THE WORLD CAUSED BY EVIL DESIRES.

For your character to become like Jesus, you have to make some TOUGH DECISIONS. Do something ACTIVE.

Notice he doesn’t say escape the WORLD. You can’t do that. You still have to LIVE in the world. And that’s a GOOD thing. To work, and socialise, and play sport, and relax. Hang out with non-Christians.

Don’t escape the WORLD. Escape the CORRUPTION of the world caused by EVIL DESIRES.

The world is full of things you need to RUN AWAY FROM. Things that will entice you to participate in them, rather than participating in a divine nature. Things that are the ENEMY of a godly life.

There’s the OBVIOUS things. Things that are EASY to identify. And not TOO hard for most people to run away from.

But there’s also a lot of LESS obvious things. The evil desires that are just as much IN YOU, as they are in the world. And they can be HARDER to get on top of.

The desire to fit in. To be liked. The desire to be comfortable. And to take it easy. To be successful and influential. The desire to avoid conflict, and to please people.

Participating in the divine nature means FLEEING THOSE sorts of desires TOO. Because they SEEM pretty harmless, but they can end up leading you into all sorts of trouble.

Turn the TV off, throw the catalogues in the bin. DON’T buy the latest fashions. Be content. Give it up.

Don’t DO what everyone else DOES, GO where everyone else GOES, or TALK AND THINK about what everyone else TALKS and THINKS about.

WALK AWAY, SWITCH OFF, TURN AROUND, TURN THE PAGE, RE-PRIORITISE, RE-EVALUATE, RE-FOCUS.

That’s what it will LOOK LIKE to ESCAPE the corruption in the world.

And it won’t be EASY. Which is what Peter goes on to talk about in the next paragraph. V5. MAKE EVERY EFFORT.

And then we get a bit of MATHS. Which always takes EFFORT. A bit of DIVINE ARITHMETIC. I bet you thought you’d escaped maths for the weekend. But see it there in v5? ADD to your faith. The word literally means “to bring in alongside.”

We’re planning to paint our bedroom ceiling. And we’ve got to scrape away all the old flaking paint. And to DO that we need to set up two ladders, and run a nice thick plank between the two, so we can STAND on it.

But the problem is/ I don’t HAVE any nice thick planks. I’ve got some THIN ones. The problem is when I stand on THOSE it feels like a trampoline. So I need to BRING IN ALONGSIDE ANOTHER plank. To SUPPORT the FIRST. One ADDED to the ANOTHER makes it STRONGER.

Peter says to ADD things to your faith.

It starts with FAITH. Trusting Jesus as your SAVIOUR and your LORD. Trusting his GOODNESS. Trusting his PROMISES.

But don’t just stay with faith. If you’ve got REAL faith. Then it will work itself out in PRACTICAL ways in your life. ADD to it.

Add GOODNESS to your faith. Don’t be someone who’s just RELIGIOUS. There’s enough of those sorts of people around. Dry and strict and judgmental. Who look like they’ve just sucked on a lemon. Add GOODNESS to your faith. A simple, attractive, admirable and gentle quality of character. Show your faith’s GENUINE.

And people will NOTICE.

One of our Youth Group leaders radiates goodness. Not what you’d expect when you first meet him. He’s muscly, he’s a builder. He loves his sport. His baseball and his rockclimbing and his fishing and his surfing.

But he’s gentle and generous and caring. He’s got a reputation for shedding a few tears if a song we’re singing grabs him. And he gets teased when he lets out his worst expletive when something goes wrong, “Oh, goodness!!!”

I don’t know what they make of that on the building site. Probably never heard that one!

But don’t leave it at goodness. Add KNOWLEDGE to your goodness. It’s not enough to just be GOOD. Add knowledge of right and wrong. Appropriate and inappropriate, useful and hurtful, becoming and unbecoming. Otherwise you’ll be naïve. And people will take advantage of you. If you’re WISE in the way you show you’re goodness, then it will be more USE. More benefit to people.

But don’t just leave it with KNOWLEDGE. Add SELF-CONTROL to knowledge. Knowledge by itself can puff up. Can make you proud – a know-it-all. Knowledge about people and situations can mean you EXPLOIT them. Take ADVANTAGE of them.

There’s a side of knowledge that’s cunning, and sneaky. And devious. That knows how to find what it wants. And know how to GET it. But if you add SELF-CONTROL to your knowledge, then you’ll always have the ability to say NO. To STOP before you go too far.

Fairly obvious that if the corruption of the world is caused by evil desires. Then having the self-control to say NO to evil desires is fairly important. The world says “if it feels good DO IT”. So FLEE anything you find hard to resist. Burn it, flush it, switch it off.

Share your struggle with a Christian. Get them to keep you accountable. It might need some DRASTIC ACTION. Jesus says if your eye causes you to sin POKE IT OUT. MAKE EVERY EFFORT to develop self-control.

And while you’re working on self-control. Add PERSEVERANCE to it. Self-control isn’t too hard for a SHORT TIME. But it’s the ability, time after time to keep saying NO. To keep a handle on your tongue, or your emotions, or your anger, or your wants. That will show fruit in the long-term.

Perseverance means sticking at a ministry that seems thankless, hopeless and useless. Stick with a friend whose hard work, but who needs you. Stick with HONESTY and INTEGRITY when everyone else around you is cheating. Stick with PRAYER even when it feels like you’re talking to yourself. Stick with Jesus when it seems easier to fall away.

Let me tell you about perseverance. Barry was my youth Group leader growing up. He had stickability. For about 30 years, every Sunday morning he taught senior Sunday school. Every Sunday night was Yth Group then church. Every Fri night was an outreach youth group in another suburb. While he worked a full-time job as an excavator, saving to build a Christian youth camp.

He wasn’t the most gifted, or charismatic youth worker around. But he STUCK AT IT. And there’s probably hundreds of people who, humanly speaking, have Barry to thank for being Christians today.

But perseverance would be no good if you were doing it for the wrong reasons. Or with the wrong ATTITUDE. If you’re sticking at something to please yourself, or build your own empire, or in your own strength. So add GODLINESS to your perseverance. A God-centred, God-focussed, God-pleasing, all-consuming passion for his glory.

Every day, commit your day to God. Hand it over to him. For HIS purposes, in HIS strength. For HIS glory.

When I first started teaching High School. I was 20 years old. Straight out of Uni. Green as they come. Rick was my Subject Coordinator. And every morning the staff would pray together. And every morning Rick would pray pretty much the same thing. “God, this is YOUR day. We can’t be part of your plans in our own strength. Without you, we’re nothing. Be WITH us. In our words and thoughts and actions.”

I figured if Rick still needed to do that after 20 years teaching, then it was probably a good thing for me to do too. And so, I’m still doing it. Every morning. “This is YOUR day. Without you, I’m NOTHING. I’m YOURS. For YOUR purposes. In YOUR strength. For YOUR glory.”

It’s not enough to just stick it out for the long term. But to stick it out with God as your focus and your model and your King. Add godliness to perseverance.

But don’t leave it at THAT. Add BROTHERLY KINDNESS to your godliness. A GENUINE other person centredness. Without it, focussing on God can lead to forgetting people, and self-righteousness. In finger-pointing, and rigid accusation.

And finally add LOVE to brotherly kindness. Love that’s more than FEELINGS. But a decision of the will. A decision that puts the needs of SOMEONE ELSE ahead of yours. Choose to LOVE, even when that means doing, or saying, the DIFFICULT thing. Perhaps even the thing that risks losing the friendship, but which is the LOVING thing.

That’s Peter’s list. What it means to participate in the divine nature.

But he goes on, v8. If you work on those things more and more, then they’ll keep you from being INEFFECTIVE AND UNPRODUCTIVE in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Just think about the LOGIC of that phrase for a moment.

In other words, it’s possible to KNOW Jesus. To have your sins forgiven, to be one of God’s children, to be going to heaven. But you’re ineffective and unproductive and insignificant. Doing nothing more than occupying a pew. You’re WASTED SPACE. You’re paddling in the babies pool, when you should be swimming laps. You’re eating pureed veges, when you should be eating roast beef.

Is that what you WANT for your life?

You’re at a crucial point in your life. The decisions you make NOW can go a long way to setting up how your life will look for the future. The choices and priorities you put in place NOW will impact how your life turns out.

What ON EARTH are you doing FOR HEAVEN’S SAKE? If you want to be SIGNIFICANT, if you want to get to the end of your life, and to have MADE A DIFFERENCE for the BETTER, then you better be getting these qualities into your life.

Jesus has done everything you need to SAVE you. And he’s given you everything you need for A GODLY LIFE. Fully equipped.

Now, he wants YOU to do YOUR BIT. To MAKE EVERY EFFORT to add to your faith the things that reflect Jesus. In terms of these qualities, it’s a PARTNERSHIP between You and Jesus. Look at how Peter describes it in v10.

be all the more eager TO MAKE YOUR CALLING AND ELECTION SURE.

Jesus has CHOSEN and CALLED you. He’s WON you, and EQUIPPED you. Now, make SURE of that by making every effort.

Don’t simply take what Jesus has done FOR GRANTED. Sticking it out as a Christian is a PARTNERSHIP. Between what God HAS done and IS doing. And what YOU do. So make every effort. Don’t give up. Stick it out. Make SURE of what you have.

Let me tell you something I’ve seen after 25 years of Youth Work. People fall away. They give up on Jesus. They don’t last the distance. They start strong, seem full of enthusiasm. But they get distracted. Caught in snares. Or just drifted away. I’ve seen it time and time again. Dozens and dozens of people who are LOOKING like Christians, but two, three, five, ten years later are living completely AWAY from Christ. They never STARTED with that intention. But they didn’t heed the warning. They didn’t MAEK EVERY EFFORT.

And the chances are that will be the case with some of you HERE.

I hope NOT. My prayer is that every one of you takes this warning SERIOUSLY. And every single one of you who calls himself a Christian TODAY keeps powering on.

And when I see you again in 10 years, and I ask you how you’re going as a Christian, you can answer me, “I’m still going. I’m not there yet. But I’m making every effort. And I’m plugging away. And I’m growing like Jesus. And I’m looking forward to heaven.”

Which is Peter’s final encouragement in this section to stick at it. The promise of Jesus’ rich welcome. It’s the third point on the outline – knowing what Jesus WILL do.

For if you do these things, you will never fall, 11 and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

3. Knowing what Jesus will do (11)

It’s the promise of a warm welcome that keeps you making every effort when it’s easier to give up.

Let me tell you about Florence Chadwick. She was born in 1918, and by the time she was ten years old, she was famous as A LONG DISTANCE SWIMMER. She was the first child to swim the San Diego Bay Channel.

From there she went on to break the women’s record for swimming the English Channel. 32 kilometers in 13 hours and 20 minutes.

Then, in 1952, in what was to be her victorious homecoming, Florence Chadwick, with much publicity and fanfare, set out to be the first woman to swim the Catalina Channel; 34 kilometers, from Catalina Island, just off Los Angeles; to Long Beach.

Compared with some of her other swims, it should have been easy. Besides which, she had the home crowd advantage.

But after 15 hours swimming, on a swirling foggy morning, Florence Chadwick was pulled out of the water, exhausted; just 800 metres short of her goal. After 33.2 kilometres of swimming against the tough seas, she gave up. Just 800 metres short of the beach.

800m short of a victorious homecoming. Of the cheers and applause of the crowd. 800 m short of the warm blankets, and the hot, sweet drinks. The rewards for the finishers. Of a triumphant rest.

Why didn’t she make it? She stepped out of the support boat to face the crowds and the media. She said, It wasn’t the waves. And it wasn’t the freezing cold. She said, it was the fog. She said, the thing that stopped me was that I COULDN’T SEE THE SHORELINE. IF I’D KNOWN HOW CLOSE I WAS, I COULD HAVE MADE IT.

If only I’d known. If only I’d known where the finish was… I could have kept going. (And to PROVE it, she repeated the swim a of months later, in FINE weather. And did it EASILY)

But don’t let that be YOU. The finish line is THERE. It’s CLOSE. Don’t GIVE UP. Make sure you MAKE IT. Jesus promises us a rich welcome for those he knows. Way better than a warm blanket and a hot drink. A welcome where he wraps his arms around you, and envelops you with his love and his glory and his goodness. “I’m SO GLAD you’ve MADE it. I’ve prepared a place for you. You’ve followed me WELL, and you’ve been productive and effective. I’m SO PROUD of you. Well done, good and faithful servant.”

That welcome’s OURS if we MAKE EVERY EFFORT.

Make sure you KNOW him. And if you KNOW him, then make sure you don’t give up, and FALL SHORT.

2 Peter 1:12-2:22: Standing Firm

Sometimes the difference between truth and mistakes can be LY.  A WA skydiving school has been in the news recently for a number of s over the last few years.

Now if you’re learning to skydive, you’re supposed to do a solid training course over a of days. And then sit a WRITTEN EXAM to check you’ve UNDERSTOOD what you’ve learned.

It’s not the sort of thing you’d take SHORT-CUTS on, is it? After all, getting it RIGHT is a matter of life and .

But apparently, a group of 19 English language students from Dubai were rushed through the course in less than a day, with the help of an Arabic translator who couldn’t skydive.

And at the end of the course, they were allowed to skydive because they were given a VERBAL test, where they all answered AS A GROUP.

Here’s how dodgy the test was. One of the questions was multiple choice. What are the main priorities for your first jump? a) Smile and look cool, or b) climb out and jump as quickly as possible.

Which makes you wonder how much TRUTH young Salem Almazrooei understood. He jumped out of a plane for his first solo parachute jump. His chute became tangled, and failed to open properly. He fell to his .

They found later that he’d answered a number of his written exam questions incorrectly. The instructors never even MARKED it because he wrote in Arabic!

Sometimes the difference between truth and mistakes can be LY. And false teachers like THAT need to be STOPPED.

Which is exactly what Peter reckons as he writes the next part of his letter. It’s hard to think of any tougher language in the Bible. “Brute beasts, blots and blemishes, eyes full of ery. Blackest darkness is reserved for them. Slaves of depravity. Dogs returning to vomit, pigs wallowing in mud.”

Remember, these are guys IN THE CHURCH! These weren’t OUTSIDERS! They were the guys sitting next to you on a Sunday morning!

We BAULK at that sort of language. It seems a bit INTOLERANT and UNFORGIVING to us. A bit FULL-ON!

But Peter’s so worked up because they’re doing SO MUCH DAMAGE. These false teachers SAY they’re Christian. They SAY they’ve got special knowledge every Christian needs to know. But they’re leading young Christians astray. With ly consequences.

Instead, Peter wants his readers to STICK WITH what HE’S taught them. The gospel passed down from Jesus through the Apostles. That’s the solid foundation to base your life on, he says.

Don’t FORGET it, don’t LOSE it, don’t go BEYOND IT.

I can understand a little of how Peter must have felt. I’m part of a group of Christians who teach Scripture seminars at one of our local high schools. Some of us are Pressies, others Anglican, a Baptist or two, someone from the Reformed church. And then there’s some representatives of a well-known Pentecostal denomination, as well as the Catholics.

We WRITE the seminars, so we make sure there’s great stuff there that makes Jesus VERY CLEAR. And then everyone chips in to present different sections of the seminar.

And some of the OTHER presenters just have no idea about the gospel. Of what the cross means. Of what a Christian is.

And we’ve got the incredible privilege of proclaiming Jesus as clearly and attractively as we can, to 3 seminars of 200 students each day. 6 times a year. Of making an eternal difference in the lives of hundreds of youth.

And it makes me SO MAD when I hear some of the presenters stand up and say things like “You’ve just got to be as good as you can to be a Christian. Just try your best, and hope that’s good enough for God.” My boils!

Or when I hear someone say, “If you become a Christian, you’ll be a WINNER. Everything will be GREAT. God wants to give you success, and prosperity, and great friends, and good health, and a great career.”

But God doesn’t PROMISE that. It’s RUBBISH. And it’s WRONG. And mistakes like THAT can lead to !

Truth (1:12-21)

Which is just what PETER thinks. So it’s no WONDER he starts off this part of his letter with these words, talking about the truths of Jesus. Have a look there at the beginning of the section we read. Ch 1 v12

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. 13 I think it is right TO REFRESH YOUR MEMORY as long as I live in the tent of this body,

And then, down to v15.

15 And I will make every effort to see that after my departure you will ALWAYS BE ABLE TO REMEMBER THESE THINGS.

This isn’t NEW stuff he’s emphasising. It’s the OLD TRUTHS. REMINDING people of what first believed in.

And one of the reasons Peter’s SO KEEN to do that/ is because he’s not going to be around for much longer. He needs to make sure that when he’s gone, there’ll be faithful people holding SOLIDLY onto the flame. And then who pass the baton ON TO OTHERS.

Like the Olympic torch relay. One person passes the flame onto another, who runs a km down the road, and passes it on to the NEXT person. And so on. And if you’re carrying the flame, your priority is to make sure that flame passes safely onto the next runner.

And that’s the way Christianity has kept going ever since the time of Jesus. One generation at a time. One giant torch relay. Passing on the light of Jesus. Paul put it this way when he was writing to Timothy. 2 Tim 2:2.

2 And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others.

It’s what the PY internship program is all about. Training others who’ll then be able to pass it on to others.

Your first priority, as you sit here this morning, is to make sure you RECEIVE the flame we’re passing on to YOU. The truth of the gospel. Keep it safe, keep it fuelled.

And THEN make sure you’re passing it on to OTHERS.

You guys are the NEXT generation of church leaders and teachers. Some of you are beginning to do the passing on already. Perhaps teaching Sunday school, or helping at Beach Missions or kids club.

Begin NOW to build a legacy of passing on the gospel to all sorts of people.

But it’s important to know that it’s REALLY the truth you got, and not a counterfeit. You’re wasting your time if you spend all your time and energy receiving and passing on something that’s not REAL. That’s just A LIE.

In the movie National Treasure, Nicholas Cage steals the American Declaration of Independence from the National Archives in Washington. He rolls it up and puts it inside his jacket. On the way out, he passes through the souvenir shop, and he’s stopped by a vigilant shop assistant who thinks he’s stealing one of the posters that are copies of the original. And he has to PAY FOR IT.

When he makes it outside, there’s a whole bunch of people chasing him, trying to steal the Declaration of Independence from HIM. They finally succeed, but when they open the case, they discover, instead, that they’ve been chasing after THE COPY. The POSTER. The FAKE. Complete with price tag!

He’s done the old switch-aroo! And he’s got the REAL ONE hidden.

What a waste! To spend your life chasing a COUNTERFEIT.

It’s what I feel when I see the two young Mormon missionaries walking the streets around our house. They’re genuine and committed and energetic. Giving up their lives. But they’re following a MISTAKE. It’s TRAGIC!

But how can YOU be sure YOU’RE not doing the same thing? It’s a fair question!

Look at the two-part answer Peter gives. There from v16. Firstly, his PERSONAL EXPERIENCE as an eye-witness, and secondly, SCRIPTURE. If you’re following the truth revealed in the Bible then you can be CONFIDENT. V16.

16 We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ,

That’s talking about his SECOND coming. Which is what ch 3 is all about. And then he goes on to talk about a time they got to see Jesus revealed in his FULL SPLENDOUR. Like they’d taken their sunglasses off, and were looking straight at the son. Which only Peter, James and John witnessed.

but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. 17 For he received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”  18 We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain.

Listen to me. I’ve got the true information on Jesus. I’ve seen him MYSELF. The Apostles were chosen because they were EYEWITNESSES. They’d seen the historical events. Jesus’ miracles. Jesus’ . Jesus’ resurrection.

Reliable, solid, actual events in history. No fairy story. Stick to the facts the Apostles passed on.

The second piece of evidence for Peter is the testimony of SCRIPTURE. In his case, the OT. The OT that promised Jesus. And that promises judgment day. And his point is that the prophets DIDN’T MAKE THIS STUFF UP, but God TOLD them what to speak. See it there near in v21?

For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

Stick with the message of the APOSTLES. And stick with the stuff GOD’S revealed.

And Peter’s point with all this proof, where the rubber hits the road, is back there in v19.

You will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place

Pay ATTENTION to the truth, because your life DEPENDS on it. Like the skydiver.

The better you know the TRUTH, the better you’ll be able to pick the LIES when you see them.

Lies

Which is what Peter goes on to describe. What the FALSE teachers are like. The LIES we need to be careful of.

And there’s a whole lot of detail there. Which I’m not going to cover. You’ll get to look at SOME of it in your small groups.

But what I WILL do is point out some general characteristics. And then make some observations about LESSONS WE CAN LEARN.

Have a look there at the first paragraph in Ch 2.

For starters, their WORDS. They’re teaching FALSE DOCTRINE. Destructive heresies (v1). Lies instead of truth. Or V3 Stories they’ve made up.

Then there’s their MOTIVATION. This isn’t some genuine mistake. Someone who’s just misunderstood a Bible verse or two. They’ve SECRETLY INTRODUCED the lies. It’s DECEIT, not mistakes.

And they’re doing it for GREED. See it there in v3?

3 In their GREED these teachers will EXPLOIT you with stories they have made up.

Making up stories that PAY. Attractive and interesting and motivational. Doesn’t matter what they’re ABOUT as long as people will PAY to listen to them.

And when you’re that crook on the inside, it’s going to show itself on the outside. In your ACTIONS. “Shameful ways” there in v2. You can see the sort of things they got up to down in v13.

Their idea of pleasure is to carouse in broad daylight. They are blots and blemishes, reveling in their pleasures while they feast with you.  14 With eyes full of ery, they never stop sinning; they seduce the unstable; they are experts in greed.

Satisfying whatever pleasure they feel like whenever they want to. Partying all day. Experts in greed. Exploiting people. Using them to satisfy whatever they’re hungry for

And look at the RESULTS. First, on CHRISTIANS. back in v2, MANY follow their shameful ways. They’re POPULAR. Smooth, slick, impressive.

But not because they’re HELPFUL. V14. They’re SEDUCING the UNSTABLE. Dragging people down to their level.

That’s explained in a bit more detail down in v17.

17 These men are springs without water and mists driven by a storm. Blackest darkness is reserved for them.

In other words, they PROMISE MUCH, but DELIVER LITTLE. They promise MATURITY and SUCCESS and FREEDOM. But all they deliver is SLAVERY and FAILURE and LIES.

Promising much but delivering little. Like movie backdrops in a Western movie. They look like solid buildings, but if you go and lean against them, or try to open a door, they’re HOLLOW, empty. Made of nothing more than plywood, paint and canvas. Downright DANGEROUS.

And here’s why. Peter goes on:

18 For they mouth EMPTY, boastful words and, by appealing to the ful desires of sinful human nature, they entice people who are just escaping from those who live in error. 19 They promise them FREEDOM, while they themselves are SLAVES OF DEPRAVITY-

It’s a TRAGIC picture. No wonder Peter gets so worked up. Brand new Christians. Just learning how to put their old lives behind them. And these guys come along, promising a BETTER way. An ATTRACTIVE way. Freedom from rules and regulations. Freedom to do whatever you want.

When the reality is the OPPOSITE. They’re not free at all. They’re hopelessly trapped, constantly giving in to their sinful nature. And dragging young Christians down to their level.

But look at what ELSE. Look at the effect they have on NON-Christians. Back up to v2. THEY BRING THE WAY OF TRUTH INTO DISREPUTE.

People who SAY they’re Christian, but who live an immoral life cause the name of Jesus to suffer. If there’s one thing that gets up the nose of non-Christians, it’s HYPOCRISY. People who say one thing, but do another.

The lessons from history

That’s a bit of a snap-shot of the teachers. Some boxes to be ticking off if someone starts saying things that just don’t sound right.

Peter goes on to give us some HISTORY LESSONS. There in v4-10. Puts the false teachers into perspective. I’ve listed the basic points there in the outline. But I’m going to skip over them today.[1]

The lessons for us

So where does that leave US? Some lessons for US

First, REMEMBER the basics. Don’t be tempted to think you’ve got to come up with something new and fresh. The basics of the gospel are that God made us, we’re sinners who deserve judgment. But that God sent Jesus, fully God, but also the only perfect human, to die in our place, the righteous for the unrighteous to bring us to God. We can be his friends instead of his enemies by accepting the gift of forgiveness, and living with Jesus as our king.

That’s the BASICS. Straight from the APOSTLES. Straight from the Bible. Those four points are the GOSPEL. Or the EVANGEL, in Greek. Evangelism is telling the gospel. Presbyterians are called EVANGELICALS because that’s our FOCUS. It’s our EMPHASIS. There’s NOTHING MORE IMPORTANT than that news. Those FOUR SIMPLE POINTS. It affects everything we do, and say. Every aspect of our message comes BACK to it.

There’s always MORE we can learn, but we never get BEYOND it.

So don’t be tempted when someone offers you something EXTRA. Something BETTER. Or a SHORT-CUT, or inside track, to maturity.

Lesson one. Remember the basics.

Second, TEST what your teachers are saying. Including ME. Don’t just accept something because someone SAYS it. Check it out for yourself. Check it out against what’s in THE BIBLE.

Paul commends the Bereans in Acts 17:11 as being of noble character because they received the message with great eagerness and EXAMINED THE SCRIPTURES EVERY DAY TO SEE IF WHAT PAUL SAID WAS TRUE.

Read the Bible. God’s made it so that most of it is easy enough for most Christians to understand.

And get to know your Bible SO WELL, that when someone starts to say something a bit dodgy, warning bells start going off, and you say, “That doesn’t sound right! I’m sure I read something different!”

The Bible is the measuring stick for everything.

My 11 year old son Daniel came home from school, and said that his Scripture teacher had said something he didn’t think was right. So he came home and asked ME. And he was RIGHT.

Test what your teachers are saying.

The third lesson is that there will always be non-Christians in church. These false teachers were IN THE CHURCH.

Don’t assume that every church-goer, or everyone who goes to your Yth Group is a Christian. Sometimes the non-Christians are EASY to pick, but OTHER times they’re DIFFICULT.

The reality is when people have hung around Christians for a long time they get pretty good at knowing what to say, and how to act.

Perhaps that’s YOU.

You’re good at talking the talk. Knowing when to stand up, when to sit down. You know all the stories. You think you’ve got all the answers. You’re ONE PERSON on Sundays, and someone completely different Mon to Fri.

You can fool everyone ELSE, but you’re not fooling GOD.

What are you like ON THE INSIDE? You’re talking the talk, but are you walking the walk?

Christianity is about a change on the INSIDE. And it’s not about who your parents are. Or what books you’ve read. Or whether you can win the arguments. Or how long you’ve been in Youth Group.

These false teachers had fooled lots of people. But they couldn’t fool GOD. And judgment was hanging over their head. Don’t let that be YOU. EXAMINE YOURSELF. Have you been mucking around with God?

Get real! Get serious! Accept the truth. Forget the lies. Today would be a GREAT DAY to start.


[1] From v4 we learn about some angels who God was holding for judgment, then about NOAH who God saved, while he destroyed the rest of the world. And finally, we find out about Sodom and Gomorrah that God burned to the ground because of their sin.

And there’s a number of points Peter wants to make about the false teachers. Points to comfort his readers. First, NO ONE is exempt from judgment (4). If ANGELS will be judged, why do THESE GUYS think they’ll miss out?

Secondly, judgment, although delayed, is SURE (4-6). People gave Noah a hard time because it took so long for the flood to come, but it CAME. And Peter’s point is that judgment day WILL SURELY come –whatever smart alec comments the false teachers make.

Third, judgment will be JUST. The wicked WILL be punished. And the godly WILL be spared. Ch 2 v9

the Lord knows how to rescue godly men from trials and to hold the unrighteous for the day of judgment, while continuing their punishment.

Which is all the right sort of context to put these false teachers in.

2 Peter 3: Coming Soon!!

Surprises. We all love surprises. Except perhaps for 40 year old, Christine Mawson that is. In June 1999, she turned up at Pinderfields Hospital in Wakefield England with stomach pains after a night at the pub. Perhaps a hangover, food poisoning, or bad indigestion she thought. When she arrived, doctors told her the pains were in fact CONTRACTIONS.

Christine is quoted as saying, “When the doctor told me I was pregnant I yelled at her not to be stupid and demanded a second opinion,”

Fifty minutes later, Amy-Jane was born, weighing 4lb 13oz.

Christine said she never suspected she was pregnant because she only put on a small amount of weight, and a nurse had told her last December that her menopause had started.

“We might not have been READY for her/ but we’d never send her back. Obviously, we didn’t have a single thing, not a nappy, a bib or a bootee to our names.

As for the new father, Mr Mawson said: “I was absolutely gobsmacked. “We hadn’t planned on having children. But we’re absolutely thrilled and love Amy-Jayne to bits.”

Talk about surprises! THAT really WOULD be/ family dropping in unannounced!

Then there’s Dean and Di. They DEFINITELY know they’re going to have a baby. Di feels it every morning. No mistake!

They don’t know exactly WHEN, or WHERE. But they definitely know they’re having a baby.

And so they’re getting ready. Fixing up the house, organizing the new room. Working out what baby clothes they’ve got. Organising the furniture. Unpacking the nappies. Getting Lara used to the idea.

Di’s catching up on sleep, watching what she eats and drinks, and looking after herself.

They’re looking forward to it. Every day is coloured by the birth getting closer. They don’t know exactly WHEN, or WHERE. But they definitely know they’re having a baby.

And they may get surprised EXACTLY when. But they’ll be READY.

And it’s the same with Jesus coming back. He’s PROMISED it. We know it WILL HAPPEN. Even if we don’t know exactly when.

And so we need to make sure we’re READY. To make sure we’re like Dean and Di, rather than like Christine Mawson. Because it’s not just an irrelevancy. What you think about Jesus’ return makes a REAL DIFFERENCE in the way you live TODAY.

Scoffers – just like today (3-4)

To MAKE SURE YOU’RE READY. That’s the call Peter gives to his readers. It’s of FIRST IMPORTANCE – there in v3. Top priority. You see, in Peter’s time, the false teachers from chapter 2 had given up on the idea. And they were influencing the Christians to forget about it TOO.

Look at v3.

(2 Pet 3:3-4 NIV)  First of all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. {4} They will say, “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our fathers died, everything GOES ON AS IT HAS SINCE THE BEGINNING OF CREATION.”

Their argument is/ things are just the way they’ve always been. They were basically just scientific rationalists. Just like today. They said, “I’ve got the world worked out. Cause and effect. Everything happens because of the forces of physics, or chemistry. If I can’t SEE it, it can’t be REAL. Everything just keeps going like it always has.

There’s no such thing as a super event. It’s never happened BEFORE. It won’t happen NOW.”

Today, scientists say “The world’s just running down. The sun’s losing energy. The universe is ing out. Eventually the world will just slows down, go cold, and die. And that’ll be the end. They even try to put a time on it. “WE’VE got it all worked out,” they reckon. God’s nowhere to be found. It’s just NATURE.

2. Peter’s reply:

But look at Peter’s reply.

a) God’s creation (5)

Verse 5. Those same observations about NATURE / are evidence that God’s in control. They’ve said it themselves.

everything GOES ON AS IT HAS SINCE THE BEGINNING OF CREATION

And then in v5 he says that God MADE the world by his word. And it keeps going in a consistent, regular-as-clockwork way/ because that’s the way God created it.

The very heavens the scoffers look to as evidence that God’s NOT active, is evidence that he IS. Rain falls because God says so. Planets orbit. The earth rotates. Gravity works because God says so. Electrons hold together because God says so. That’s the way he MADE things.

Some people used to think it strange that I could be a Christian, AND a Science teacher. That somehow, the two didn’t go together. But I reckon the opposite is true. The more you get to know God’s universe, the more you can see his hand. His intelligent design. His power. His purposes. His careful and caring SUSTAINING of his world.

b) God’s flood (6)

And Peter goes on. It’s not like he’s only good at the “creating” bits, but not too good at the “cleaning up”. That’s a bit like some people when they get in the kitchen. They like the cooking, but they’re not so keen on the cleaning up.

But that’s not a charge you can level against God. Because he’s done THAT already, too. (the cleaning up) Verse 6.

(2 Pet 3:6 NIV)  By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed.

Peter’s talking about Noah’s flood. The scoffers forget that God’s already destroyed the world once. Why wouldn’t he do it again?

c) God’s delay (7-9)

Next, Peter turns his attention to God’s DELAY. The scoffers see the delay in Christ’s return/ as because God’s POWERLESS. He CAN’T do it.

But Peter turns their argument on its head. God KEEPS THE WORLD GOING by his powerful word. He’s reserving it, sustaining it, nursing it along. By the same word he used to CREATE it. Look at v7.

(2 Pet 3:7 NIV)  By the same word the present heavens and earth are RESERVED / FOR FIRE, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.

The scoffers think Jesus isn’t coming back because God CAN’T do it. Or WON’T do it. Or that he doesn’t CARE.

When THE OPPOSITE is true. The delay’s FOR A REASON. God’s reserving his creation for HIS PURPOSES. For JUDGEMENT. He’s cleaned up the mess once before, so he’ll do it again.

The scoffers are like Pinky the pet pig. Pinky was so pleased with his owners who kept feeding him and feeding him. Spoiling him silly. Month after month. As he got fatter and fatter. With no sign that they wanted to eat him. He got more and more comfortable. More and more disrespectful of their authority. He thought he had them wrapped around his curly little tail.

But of course they had ANOTHER reason in mind. They were fattening him up FOR THE TABLE. For roast pork, and bacon, and Christmas ham.

Poor old Pinky couldn’t see the writing on the wall. Just like the scoffers. Thinking Jesus hadn’t returned YET, and therefore he wouldn’t return AT ALL.

But Peter’s argument about that day is like that ad for the Pantene Pro-V “It won’t happen overnight, but it WILL happen” God will wrap things up SOMEday. It won’t happen overnight, but it will happen.

So, like Pinky the pet pig, don’t make the mistake of thinking the DELAY of your Master means it’s not going to HAPPEN.

But why DOES God take so long? If people in PETER’S time thought God was slow, what would they say TODAY? If God’s judgment is so SURE, if that’s his PURPOSE in wrapping up this world. Why HASN’T it happened yet?

Peter goes on to say that, rather than the delay being because of God’s LACK OF POWER, it’s because of his PATIENCE. Verse 8.

(2 Pet 3:8-9 NIV)  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. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

I lose patience if I’m in a traffic jam for 5 minutes. But God’s so patient that a thousand years seems like a snap of your fingers. He’s not going to be hurried along by some impatient little scoffer. He’s patient with his world. He’s moving it along at just the right speed. Everything according to HIS timetable, not OURS.

And look at WHY he’s patient. He’s delaying things so that more people can repent, and turn to him. Verse 9

(2 Pet 3:9 NIV)  He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

That’s YOU. If you’re not a Christian, one of the reasons God hasn’t sent Jesus back to judge the world is he’s waiting for YOU to REPENT.

He’s PATIENT with you. He doesn’t want YOU to perish.

How does that make you FEEL? And what are you going to DO about it? Because, one day, God’s patience will RUN OUT.

d) God’s day (10, 12-13)

Finally Peter gets to discussing THE DAY ITSELF. He’s talked about CREATION, and the FLOOD, and why God’s taken so long to get AROUND to it. But then in v10, he gets to THAT day. The day of the Lord. God’s day. Judgment Day.

(2 Pet 3:10 NIV)  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 in it will be laid bare.

And the point is/ no-one will be expecting it. Like a thief. When my car was stolen from outside our house, it was the LAST thing I thought would happen.

And that says something to certain Christians who spend their time trying to analyse obscure prophecies in Revelation, or the Old Testament. Trying to find out exactly when Jesus will return.

The problem is/ NO ONE WILL KNOW. It will come like a thief. Jesus says that even HE doesn’t know when it is!

Peter goes into a bit more detail about the Day of the Lord in v12.

(2 Pet 3:12-13 NIV)  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, the home of righteousness.

The OLD will be done away with in some way. And there’ll be a new heaven and a new earth. A whole new creation for God’s NEW HUMANITY.

And not just something he’s decided RECENTLY. It’s ALWAYS been part of the plan. “in KEEPING WITH HIS PROMISE, we’re looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth”.

And God DOES promise it. Like in Isaiah 65 v17. Israel’s in exile in Babylon. And God speaks to encourage them. About a day that’s coming when things’ll be better.

(Isa 65:17-20 NIV)  “Behold, I will create new heavens and a new earth. The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind. {18} But be glad and rejoice forever in what I will create, for I will create Jerusalem to be a delight and its people a joy. {19} I will rejoice over Jerusalem and take delight in my people; the sound of weeping and of crying will be heard in it no more.

And so it goes on. In the short term, Isaiah’s talking about a return from exile. But he’s also talking about a FINAL return from exile. When God’s people go back to the home they were created for. As the NEW Jerusalem. Where God dwells with his people.

There’s a lot more I COULD say about exactly what will happen. But the problem is, no one’s really sure. Other parts of the bible fill in some other details. But ALL WE NEED TO KNOW is here.

God’s got everything planned. We don’t know WHEN, but we can be confident that it WILL happen.

And when it does, he’ll FIX UP everything that’s wrong about this world. There’ll be judgement. And he’ll bring in a NEW EARTH. And that’s something worth looking forward to.

e) God’s people (11, 14-18)

Well, just like any good teacher, Peter doesn’t just give us INFORMATION. He tells us what we should DO with it. What our RESPONSE should be to the coming of God’s day. Verse 11

(2 Pet 3:11-12 NIV)  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.

The prospect of a future judgement day should affect what kind of people we are TODAY. A bit like Dean and Di. The prospect of “that day” influences the decisions they make TODAY. About nutrition, and finances. About work and housing and furniture.

Christine Mawson had apparently been drinking alcohol and smoking all through her pregnancy because she DIDN’T KNOW the day was approaching. If she’d KNOWN, things probably would have been DIFFERENT. “Since the day is coming, what sort of people ought you to be? That’s the QUESTION.

i) Be holy

And Peter lists 5 characteristics of God’s people. The first is in v11. “You ought to live holy and godly lives”. The most obvious thing to do if you know that judgement is coming, is to make sure you’re ready for it.

Like the fixed speed camera on the M4 at the Cumberland Highway. You know it’s coming, so you make sure you don’t speed. Obvious.

Live holy lives. Find out what God requires. And do it. Read his word. Follow the example of Jesus. Follow the example of Christians. Encourage each other to do it. Obvious!

In v14 Peter says to MAKE EVERY EFFORT to be found spotless, blameless, and at peace with God. Work HARD at it, it will be worth it.

ii) Look forward to the day

Secondly, in v12, Peter encourages us to LOOK FORWARD to the day. When you know you’re on the right side of the law, justice is a wonderful thing.

People who know they’re right CAN’T WAIT for the court case. So justice can be done.

And that’s what we need to do. To be SO CONFIDENT of our standing in Christ that we’re hanging out for that day.

And to be so fed up with the mess that this world’s in, that we can’t wait for the new one. The one we were made for.

Do you look forward to that day?

iii) Speed its coming

Thirdly, Peter says we’re not just to look forward to it (in a passive way), but we’re to “speed its coming”. To do what we can/ to actively encourage that day to come.

Well, how can we do that?

Let me suggest two ways. Peter says that God is waiting for people to turn to him. He’s chosen them, and he’s waiting for them to come. That’s what he wants more than anything. You can tell from the DELAY. See it there down in v15. The Lord’s PAITENCE means SALVATION. For every day he holds off judgment. Every day he puts up with the pain and the mess and the sin. He wants to see PEOPLE IN HEAVEN BECAUSE of it.

So we need to get on board with what GOD wants. we can speed things along by introducing people to God. And the sooner they come to him, the sooner we can all go home.

Like tidying up after Youth Group. The kids are playing with a ball, or eating lollies. They’d stay there all night. But it’s the LEADERS who are scurrying around at the end. Cleaning things up. Putting chairs away. Wiping down tables. Turning off lights. Speeding the end of Youth Group.

The second way we can speed Jesus’ coming/ is by PRAYING. In the Lord’s prayer, we pray that God’s kingdom will come “Your kingdom come, your will be done”.

In a sense it’s already here, but it will only come COMPLETELY when Jesus returns. So we can pray that that will happen.

iv) Be on your guard against false teachers

The fourth area Peter mentions is that of GETTING OFF THE TRACK. He warns us against following false teachers. Look at v16. He’s talking about Paul.

(2 Pet 3:16-17 NIV)  He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, WHICH IGNORANT AND UNSTABLE PEOPLE DISTORT, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction. {17} Therefore, dear friends, since you already know this, BE ON YOUR GUARD SO THAT YOU MAY NOT BE CARRIED AWAY BY THE ERROR OF LAWLESS MEN AND FALL FROM YOUR SECURE POSITION.

It occasionally happens that a Year 12 English class studies the wrong novel for their HSC. The teachers read the wrong syllabus, or something. And the kids can’t finish their exam.

That’s a pretty big mistake to make. With big consequences. The day when Jesus comes back is a MUCH more important day. So it’s crucial that we be on our guard against people who don’t teach the bible. Because there’s a much greater examination coming than the HSC.

Don’t take people’s word for it! Check what they say! Check what I say! Check if it’s in the SYLLABUS! This is ONE time when it’s GOOD to ask “Sir, will this be in the exam?”

And if you don’t think I’m being true to the bible, ASK ME! I won’t mind! I don’t want to be wrong EITHER! It’s too important a day to get things wrong.

In a traditional Presbyterian church I used to go to, at the end of every service, one of the elders would walk to the front of the aisle, and shake the hand of the preacher.

The idea was/ that it was a checking mechanism. A handshake was a sign that the guy agreed with what had been said. And that it was true to the Bible. And that’s what we always need to be doing. To be on our guard.

v) Grow in grace (lifestyle) and knowledge (learning)

Finally, we’ve got the NEGATIVE. Then Peter gives us the POSITIVE. The other side of the coin. Verse 18. (Don’t be carried away) BUT

…grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.

Grow in grace and knowledge. Learn more ABOUT Jesus – grow in knowledge. But don’t just leave it at that. Grow in grace as well. Grow more LIKE him in your behaviour, and your attitudes. It’s easy to LEARN more STUFF, but it’s harder to actually change who we are.

But that’s what we need to be doing, because Jesus IS coming back, and we need to be ready. Are YOU ready?