May 4, 2014
Most of us have warm feelings at the thought of Christmas, the Advent of Christ. Christ first coming is an undisputed fact. The story is clear. The prophecies were all fulfilled down to the letter. And as we retell the story of His first coming from year to year it elicits feelings of hope and peace for our world.
But we don’t have those same feelings and emotions about the Second Coming of Christ. It hasn’t happened. The storyline seems fuzzy. The prophecies somewhat unclear.
We have a multitude of reactions to the thought of Christ’s Second Advent.
Some people are…
God wired me as a literalist. I don’t focus on the things I don’t know. I focus on the things that are clear. I don’t worry about all the things that are said by the predictors and the prognosticators, but I spend my time meditating on the clear things that scripture says will happen.
Mark Twain: “It ain’t the parts of the Bible that I can’t understand that bother me, it’s the parts that I do understand.”
And that’s sort of how I feel about the Second Coming of Christ. There’s so much I do know about it based on the words of Jesus Himself, and that’s where my focus ought to be.
I put a quote on FB this week: 2 Thess. 2:3 “Don’t let anyone deceive you about this in any way. That day cannot come unless a revolt takes place first, and the man of sin, the man of destruction, is revealed.”
(Screen) Barnes: “This implies that there were attempts even then to deceive God’s people and that it was of great importance for Christians to be on their guard. There is almost no subject on which caution is more proper and on which men are more liable to delusion.”
And I added; “Let’s be careful out there Christians with our predictions and theories. The best approach is scripture itself!”
That’s just me. That’s how I think. So this morning let’s deal with what we do know with absolute certainty. There are entire chapters in the Word of God devoted to the Second Coming of Christ.
The Apostle Peter devoted his entire second Epistle to this subject. So let’s turn to 2 Peter 3. (I’m preaching from Today’s New International Version)
2 Peter 3:1 TNIV “Dear friends, this is now my second letter to you. I have written both of them as reminders to stimulate you to wholesome thinking.”
We grow by being reminded again and again on any subject. This is one subject we dare not drift from and become complacent towards.
2 Peter 3:2 TNIV “ I want you to recall the words spoken in the past by the holy prophets and the command given by our Lord and Savior through your apostles.”
I want you to RECALL = revisit, reread, mediate, talk about, and pray about
I want you to recall the words spoken in the past = O.T. prophetic writers (Isaiah-Malachi)
And the words of Jesus Christ Himself = Matthew 24-25, Mark 13, Luke 21
2 Peter 3:3-4 TNIV “Above 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 ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.”
This will actually be ONE SIGN of the coming of Christ, people in the faith will begin to doubt and people in the world will begin to scoff.
To be quite honest, the very idea that God is going to send Jesus back to earth to jumpstart the culmination of history and to begin pouring out God’s judgment is fantastical, almost science-fiction like.
It’s hard for us to get our minds around this truth. We live in a postmodern world where science has replaced faith. Intellect and human potential has become the new all-knowing god.
God’s going to destroy this world? Really? You believe that stuff? Peter wisely takes us back to the beginning.
2 Peter 3:5-7 TNIV 5 “But they deliberately forget that long ago by God’s word the heavens came into being and the earth was formed out of water and by water. 6 By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. 7 By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.
As farfetched and far out as this may sound, the Bible says it is AN ABSOLUTE REALITY. The day of the Lord will come and NOTHING will stop it. No criticism, no doubt, and no amount of mocking will hinder the plan and purpose of God.
Here’s another perspective.
2 Peter 3:8 TNIV 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.”
Time in heaven is NOT like time on earth. God has not forgotten His promises. He has not changed His mind. He is not relenting from His plan.
2 Peter 3:9 TNIV “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.”
If there is a delay it is only that God desires more people to know Him. In fact, Jesus said this gospel would be preached in ALL THE WORLD and then the end would come! Every tongue, tribe, nation and people deserves the right to know the truth!
But make no mistake about it, Jesus IS coming again.
2 Peter 3:10 TNIV “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.”
That verse is very intimidating! It’s daunting to think that God is going to visit this earth once again with destruction much like He did with the flood during the time of Noah.
So how should the knowledge of that truth affect us?
2 Peter 3:11 “Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives.”
The problem is we live in a world that is becoming more unholy and more ungodly! It’s exactly like Sodom and Gomorrah and the world that Noah lived in. And Jesus said it would be so!
Peter said we ought to not dread the coming of Jesus. We ought to look forward to it with great anticipation!
2 Peter 3:12-13 “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.”
The promises of God can be taken to the bank! God has not changed His mind or His word. Jesus is coming again and it’s very, very good news to all those who love God and follow His commands.
Peter revisits the truths he’s just stated regarding how we are to live in light of Jesus coming.
2 Peter 3:14 “So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with Him.
Are you AT PEACE with God? Today is communion Sunday and we will have a chance to examine our hearts before we partake of the holy elements of the Lord’s Table.
Peter states it again. God is not delaying, is continuing to reach out to the lost.
In spite of all the sin we see today I see a huge interest in the hearts of unbelievers in the things of God.
Think about it, right now we have four blockbuster movies with deeply Christian themes: God Is Not Dead, Son of God, Noah, and Heaven Is For Real. This NO ACCIDENT! It’s a sign of spiritual hunger!
2 Peter 3:15 “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.”
People have always taken scripture and twisted it, especially in the area of prophecy and end times.
2 Peter 2:16-17 “[Paul] 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.”
C.S. Lewis: “If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for this present world were precisely those who thought most of the next one. It is since Christians have largely ceased to think about the other world that they have become so ineffective in this world.”
Peter raises another response to the notion of the Second Coming of Christ = Spiritual Growth!
2 Peter 3:18 “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be glory both now and forever! Amen.”
We have a growth track here at LC.
FOCUS classes – on your way out this morning be sure and sign up