Looking for the Lord’s Return
II Peter 3:1-9
Theme: We don’t know when Jesus will return but we must be ready and waiting.
As a young boy I sat under the
ministry of Dr. James McGinlay, Pastor of The Baptist Temple in
“Perhaps this very evening
At the closing of the day
Will come the sound of trumpets
And we’ll all be caught away.
Perhaps this evening’s sunset
Is the last we’ll ever see
For at the midnight hour
God may summon you and me.
What if these hours together
Are the last we’ll ever spend
Before we part forever
From a loved one, or a friend.
Should Jesus come this evening
Would He find some task undone,
Would His heart go out in yearning
To a soul you might have won?
Would you be glad to see Him?
Would you welcome His return?
Are you longing for His coming?
Is His work your chief concern?
And all your friends and loved ones,
Do they know about His love?
Will they all be there to greet you
When you reach that home above?
Oh my friends, let us be earnest,
Let us watch and wait and pray,
Let us labor for our Saviour,
For the Lord may come today.”
Jesus is coming again and we are to be watching and waiting for His coming. Turn with me to II Peter 3:1-9 (read). Commenting on this passage of Scripture Albert Barnes says: “The principal design of this chapter is to demonstrate, in opposition to the objections of scoffers, that the Lord Jesus will return again to this world; that the world will be destroyed by fire, and that there will be a new heaven and a new earth; and to show what effect this should have on the minds of Christians.” We will be ready when the Lord returns if we will keep in mind that:
I. God’s Word Is Certain
II. God’s Work Is Consistent
III. God’s Will Is Compassionate
Let’s consider each of these points in the time that we have together.
I. God’s Word Is Certain- Notice verses 1-4 “This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance: That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour: Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.” Peter is urging us to not lose sight of the words of God as we are confronted with scoffers who deny the return of Jesus. We must stand firmly upon God’s Word even though there will be those who will scoff at us. God doesn’t change and His word is certain. He will keep His promises. Peter is writing to stir up our minds so that we will remember what God has said in the past about the coming of His Son, Jesus. Warren Wiersbe says: “It is easy for Christians to ‘get accustomed to God’s truth…. Our Heavenly Father sacrificed so that we might have the truth of the Word and freedom to practice it, but too often we take this for granted and become complacent. The church needs to be aroused regularly lest the enemy find us asleep and take advantage of our spiritual lethargy. Because God’s Word is true, we must pay attention to it and take its message seriously.” Although I disagree with the setting of dates that Harold Camping the president of Family Radio has been involved in doing, I am pleased that he is getting people thinking about the return of Jesus. We must be students of the Word of God so that we will be ready when Jesus returns. Warren Wiersbe says “What the Bible teaches about the Day of the Lord was not invented by the Apostles. The prophets taught it and so did our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:2). Peter emphasized the unity of the Word of God. When the scoffers denied ‘the power and coming’ of Jesus Christ, they were denying the truth of the Prophetic books, the teaching of our Lord in the Gospels and the writing of the Apostles.” Peter warns us that scoffers will come into the church. It may be that some have already appeared. Their character is similar to that of other false teachers. They scoff at those things that they cannot understand and they live immoral lives. Their ignorance is demonstrated in their immorality. A scoffer is one who treats lightly that which ought to be taken seriously. The fact that we have scoffers today is further proof that the Word of God is certain since Peter tells us that they would come. They seek to justify their immorality by scoffing at the Word of God. Instead of appreciating the fact that we are not experiencing cataclysmic events they use it as a way of supporting their own errors. These mockers need to be made aware of the fact that:
II. God’s Work Is Consistent- We read in verses 5-7 “For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.” We need to look back to God’s work in history to appreciate what God is able to do in the future. If we forget our past we will doubt our future. Warren Wiersbe says “Peter cited two events in history to prove his point: the work of God at Creation (2 Peter 3:5), and the flood in Noah’s day (2 Peter 3:6)… Peter’s argument is obvious: the same God who created the world by His word can also intervene in His world and do whatever He wishes to do! It is His word that made it and that holds it together, and His word is all-powerful… God has the power to ‘break in’ at any time and accomplish His will. He can send rain from heaven or fire from heaven… Having established the fact that God has in the past interrupted the course of history, Peter was then ready for his application in 2 Peter 3:7. The same word that created and sustains the world is now holding it together, stored with fire, being preserved and reserved for that future day of judgment. God promised that there would be no more floods to destroy the world (Gen. 9:8-17). The next judgment will be a judgment of fire.” It is significant that in our day both Creation and the Floor are called into question. This has enable scoffers to continue in their immoral ways a little longer. From time to time God demonstrates His power over nature with floods, Tidal Waves and volcanic eruptions. The God who is able to do these things is the God who will one day destroy this world by fire when Jesus returns. This leads us to consider
III. God’s Will Is Compassionate- Verses 8-9 say “But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” The reason there have not been more cataclysmic events is due to the compassion of God. Warren Wiersbe says: “Peter exposed the ignorance of the scoffers. Not only were they ignorant of what God had done in the past (2 Peter 3:5) but they were also ignorant of what God was like. They were making God in their own image and ignoring the fact that God is eternal. This means that He has neither beginning nor ending. Man is immortal: he has a beginning but not an ending. He will live forever either in heaven or hell. But God is eternal, without beginning or ending, and He dwells in eternity. Eternity is not just ‘extended time.’ Rather, it is existence above and apart from time.” God is not bound by time. He is not in a hurry. What may appear as a delay from our point of view is no delay from His perspective. God is merciful and gracious. His compassion gives men an opportunity to repent of their rebellion and willful ignorance. Repentance is a change of mind that leads to a change of attitude and action. If you are living in sin God is giving you an opportunity to repent before it is too late.
We don’t know when Jesus will return but we are to be ready and waiting. God’s word is certain, God’s work is consistent and God will is compassionate. If you have not yet trusted Christ then do so right now.
Looking for The Lord’s Return
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