2 Peter 3:17-18
You therefore, beloved, seeing you know these things before, beware lest you also, being led away with the error of the wicked…
Your little child hangs over the taffrail of the steamboat and says, "Father, what is that black thing in the water? "You say, "That is a buoy, showing there is a rock underneath, and danger there." So the Apostle Peter in the text points out the perils of the Christian voyage. It would be a strange thing if all our anxiety about men ceased the moment they were converted. You would almost doubt the sanity of that farmer who, having planted the corn and seen it just sprout above ground, should say, "My work is all done. I have no more anxiety for the crop." You have only just been launched; the voyage is to be made. Earth, and heaven, and hell are watching to see how fast you will sail, how well you will weather the tempest, and whether at last, amid the shouting of angels, you shall come into the right harbour.
I. HOLD BEFORE YOUR SOUL A VERY HIGH MODEL. Do not say, "I wish I could pray like that man, or speak or have the consecration of this one." Say, "Here is the Lord Jesus Christ a perfect pattern. By Him, with God's grace, I mean to shape all my life." You have a right to aspire to the very highest style of Christian character. I admit that a man cannot become a Christian like that without a struggle; but what do you get without fighting for it? In the strength of Christ go forward. God is for you, and if God be for you, who can be against you? Remember that God never puts you in battle but He gives you weapons with which to fight.
II. ABSTAIN FROM ALL PERNICIOUS ASSOCIATIONS, AND TAKE ONLY THOSE THAT ARE USEFUL AND BENEFICENT. I know young people who have meant well enough, but they have floated off into evil influences, and they have associated day by day with those who hated God and despised His commandments, and their characters are all depleted. I can see they are changed for the worse, but they are not aware of it. Oh, young man, come out of that bad association. Stand back from that furnace in which so many young Christians have been destroyed.
III. BE ACTIVELY EMPLOYED. Who are the happy people in the Church to-day? The busy people. The very first prescription that I give to a man when I find him full of doubts and fears about his eternal interest is to go to work for God. Here is a wood full of summer insects. An axeman goes into the wood to cut firewood. The insects do not bother him very much, and every stroke of the axe makes them fly about. But let a man go and lie down there and he is bitten, and thinks it is a horrible thing to stay in that wood. So there are thousands of Christians now in the Church who go out amid great annoyances in life — they are not perplexed, they are all the time busy; while there are others who do nothing, and they are stung, and covered from head to foot with the blotches of indolence, and inactivity, and spiritual death.
IV. BE FAITHFUL IN PRAYER. You might as well, business man, start out in the morning without food and expect to be strong all that day — you might as well abstain from food all the week and expect to be strong physically, as to be strong without prayer. And the only difference between this Christian who is getting along very fast in the holy life, and this one who is only getting along tolerably, is that the first prays more than the last.
V. BE FAITHFUL IN BIBLE RESEARCH. A great many good books are now coining out. Glorious books they are. But I have thought that perhaps the followers of Christ sometimes allow this religious literature to take their attention from God's Word, and that there may not be as much Bible reading as there ought to be. You go to the drug store and you get the mineral waters; but you have noticed that the waters are not so fresh or sparkling or healthful as when you get these very waters at Saratoga and Sharon — getting them right where they bubble from the rock. And I have noticed the same thing in regard to the truth of the gospel. While there is a good deal of the refreshment and health of the gospel of God as it comes through good books, I find it is better when I come to the eternal rock of God's Word, and drink from that fountain that bubbles up fresh and pure to the life, the refreshment, the health of the soul.
(T. de Witt Talmage.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness.