Exhortation to Diligence
2 Peter 3:14 Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.
We are on the last few verses of this short epistle. Prayerfully I was planning to make this sermon the last for this book but as I read the verses once more, a word suddenly caught my attention. The word is “diligent”. Verse 14 say “be diligent”. It’s an exhortation so after some word study here is what I can share to you about this verse.
I. Definition of Diligence –
A. Steady application in business of any kind; constant effort to accomplish what is undertaken; exertion of body or mind without unnecessary delay or sloth; due attention; industry (Webster).
B. Zeal; wholeheartedness; labor (Pr. 4:23; Rom. 12:8).
C. To make effort
D. Diligence in our text today relates to the coming of the Lord.
1. How will Christ find us when He comes?
2. Shall he find faith on the earth? (Lk. 18:8)
Illustration: Diligence of William
A 16-year-old named William left home to seek his fortune. His earthly possessions were tied in a bundle carried in his hand. One day he met an elderly canal-boat captain who listened to his story that his family was too poor to keep him, and the only skill he had was making candles and soap.
The old captain knelt and prayed for the boy’s future and afterward gave him some advice.
“William, someone will be the leading soap-maker in New York. It could be you. Be a good man, give your heart to Christ, pay the Lord all that belongs to Him, make an honest soap, give a full pound, and I’m certain you’ll be a prosperous and rich man.”
The 16-year-old who listened to godly counsel was William Colgate, who not only prospered beyond his wildest dreams but was able to give millions of dollars to the Lord’s cause.
II. Readiness for the future
A. Since we are looking forward for a new heaven and new earth where righteousness dwelleth, we are to:
1. Be ready for His return anytime. (Mt. 24:44)
2. Be prepared to give an account of our stewardship (Lk. 19:13; Luke 18:8).
3. Patiently wait for His coming (1 Cor. 1:7)
4. Constantly abide in Christ (1 Jn. 2:28)
5. Joyfully expect His Return (Titus 2:13)
6. If I know that the Lord may come today or tonight, I must keep myself ready.
Illustration: Pony Express
When it comes to being on the alert and ready at any moment to do the job, it’s hard to beat the Pony Express. This historically famous mail service between St. Joseph, Missouri, and California depended on constant movement and readiness. Relay stations were established every ten to fifteen miles. A rider would shout aloud as he approached a station, giving the station master very short
notice that he needed to be outside waiting with a fresh mount. Even when a rider came to the station where he was to spend the night, another rider was already mounted and waiting, ready to grab the first rider’s bundle of packages and continue the trip.
The completion of the transcontinental telegraph system rendered the Pony Express obsolete after just eighteen months. But we have this service’s intriguing example of what it means to be ever watchful. Jesus used two parables to teach us the value of readiness and watchfulness as His servants. (Today in the Word, December, 1997, p. 17)
III. What must our condition be?
A. Peace – I would say that the peace here is our peace in Christ which we don’t fear or worry for His coming day. To have this peace, we must have a strong confidence of assurance of salvation and an obedient Christian life. (1 Jn. 4:17).
1. Peace is only possible if:
a. The person has repented from his sins;
b. The person received Christ as his personal Saviour
c. The person is daily living out the gospel. The false teachers and their followers fail on all these three counts so they have no peace!
Illustration 1: Two kinds of Peace
1. Experiential Peace (Phil 4:7) — day by day experience of the believer, can be forfeited.
2. Judicial Peace (Rom 5:1) — the war with God is over.
A person can experience Judicial Peace and not Experiential Peace. Example of WWII Japanese who hid for years in jungles, long after peace was established between the warring nations. (Anonymous)
Illustration 2: Statistics
A former president of the Norwegian Academy of Sciences and historians from England, Egypt, Germany, and India have come up with some startling information: Since 3600 B.C. the world has known only 292 years of peace! During this period there have been 14,351 wars, large and small, in which 3.64 billion people have been killed. The value of the property destroyed would pay for a golden belt around the world 97.2 miles wide and 33 feet thick.
Since 650 B.C. there have also been 1656 arms races, only 16 of which have not ended in war. The remainder ended in the economic collapse of the countries involved.
In 1555, Nicholas Ridley was burned at the stake because of his witness for Christ. On the night before Ridley’s execution, his brother offered to remain with him in the prison chamber to be of assistance and comfort. Nicholas declined the offer and replied that he meant to go to bed and sleep as quietly as ever he did in his life. Because he knew the peace of God, he could rest in the strength of the everlasting arms of his Lord to meet his need. So can we! (Anonymous).
B. Without Spot – unblemished, without defect, without stain.
1. The spot here is unconfessed sin
2. As faithful sons we must make sure that when the Lord comes He will not find us living in sin or in carnality.
C. Blameless – Having no just cause for blame. This word is used in two different ways in regard to the Christian:
1. He is blameless positionally in Christ (Eph. 1:4),
2. He is to be blameless in his testimony before the world (Ph. 2:15; 1 Thess. 5:23, 1 Tim. 3:2,10).
D. Without spot and blameless is Old Testament metaphor to describe the purity of sacrificial animals (Lev. 22:19-20).
E. To live without spot and blameless is to live in light of
1. Christ’s example,
2. Christ’s commands
3. Christ’s coming
Illustration: Waste of Time
All blame is a waste of time. No matter how much fault you find with another, and regardless of how much you blame him, it will not change you. The only thing blame does is to keep the focus off you when you are looking for external reasons to explain your unhappiness or frustration. You may succeed in making another feel guilty of something by blaming him, but you won’t succeed in changing whatever it is about you that is making you unhappy. (Wayne W. Dyer)
Indeed we must be diligent, that when the Lord comes He will find us in peace, without spot and blameless. Will you do these things as you patiently and joyfully wait for His return?