2 Peter 3:14-16 (NIV)
14 So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him. 15 Bear in mind that our Lord�s patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him. 16 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 have been forewarned, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of the lawless and fall from your secure position. 18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.
In these verses the apostle lets us know that we are in constant danger of being turned away from the truth. For we must remember even Satan knows the scriptures and used them against Christ, not for Christ�s benefit, but instead as an attempt to seduce Christ with the temptation of sin. We must be careful with scripture for it is our relationship with Christ that allows us to understand and use scripture wisely. There are some who take the Word of God away from Him and use it for themselves; men without law, who keep to no rules, set no bounds to themselves, a sort of free-thinkers. For we cannot think alone, but instead out thoughts must agree with those of Our Savior who with love, mercy and grace gave His life for us. If Christ allows you to grow in grace then allow others the same benefit.
William Henry Willimon is an American theologian and bishop in the United Methodist Church, currently serving in the North Alabama Conference. The following comes from one of his sermons : Early in my ministry, I served a little church in rural Georgia. One Saturday we went to a funeral in a little country church not of my denomination. I grew up in a big downtown church. I had never been to a funeral like this one. The casket was open, and the funeral consisted of a sermon by their preacher. The preacher pounded on the pulpit and looked over at the casket. He said, "It's too late for Joe. He might have wanted to get his life together. He might have wanted to spend more time with his family. He might have wanted to do that, but he's dead now. It is too late for him, but it is not too late for you. There is still time for you. You still can decide. You are still alive. It is not too late for you. Today is the day of decision." Then the preacher told how a Greyhound bus had run into a funeral procession once on the way to the cemetery, and that that could happen today. He said, "You should decide today. Today is the day to get your life together. Too late for old Joe, but it's not too late for you." I was so angry at that preacher. On the way home, I told my wife, "Have you ever seen anything as manipulative and insensitive to that poor family? I found it disgusting." She said, "I've never heard anything like that. It was manipulative. It was disgusting. It was insensitive. Worst of all, it was also true."
Will�s wife was right the words spoken at the funeral were true. Anyone can die at any minute. And once the person dies it is too late to make any other decisions about life. It becomes too late to make the most important decision about their eternal life and whether they accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. The problem with the sermon is this was a time of mourning for most people and they needed comforting and not a head bashing. Yes, they need to know the love, mercy and grace God offers, but who is going to listen quicker � one that is comforted or one that bashed over the head with strong words? Who will listen quicker � a person hearing God�s word given in a loving and caring method or from one who berates one into submission? Yes, the words were correct, but the delivery was wrong. Remember to use God�s word first with yourself to build your relationship with Christ and then out of love for others.