II Peter 3:10-13
Sometimes when you look around at our world and you see the things which are taking place in our world, it makes you believe that Satan is having a heyday.
I remember reading about the night before the crucifixion of our Lord. Jesus made this statement, "This is your hour and the power of darkness." In many ways, this does seem to be Satan's day. It seems like he's getting the upper hand.
But whenever I begin to think that way, I am reminded of a story I heard. A man stopped by a ball field one day and a bunch of little boys were out playing ball. He asked one of the little boys on the side, "Son, what's the score?" He said, "They're ahead 36 to nothing." The man said, "My goodness, you must be terribly discouraged." He said, "Oh, no. My team hasn't batted yet."
You may think it is Satan's day right now, but God's going to have His day. He's coming up to bat one of these days.
Chapter 3, verse 10, talks about the Day of the Lord. In verse 12 it talks about the Day of God. God's day, the Day of the Lord.
In one sense of the word, we could say that you and I are living in man's day. It is man's day of opportunity. Second Corinthians 6:2, says, "Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the days of salvation." This is man's day. This is man's day of opportunity.
God gives you, right now, the opportunity to invite Jesus Christ into your heart and into your life as your personal Savior. It is man's day of opportunity.
When man's day comes to an end, there is another day. You will notice that it says in this same chapter, verse 7, the Day of Judgment.
It is man's day, a day of opportunity. Yet the Bible says that it is appointed unto man once to die and after this the judgment. The Day of Judgment is going to come one of these days. The opportunity will be over, and you'll stand before God and you will give an account for what you did with His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Then God is going to have His day. The day of the Lord is going to come. That's really the substance of what these verses are talking about. These verses are absolutely phenomenal verses. They are unbelievable verses. When you read what they say and the predictions which they make, it is amazing what God revealed to a simple fisherman named Simon Peter.
I. The Creation.
He talks about the day of the Lord. He talks about the day of God in relationship to several areas. For instance, you will notice in verses 10 and 11 that he talks about the day of God and the creation. In verses 10 and 11 he talks about the day of the Lord will come and what the coming of the Lord is going to do in terms of our creation.
He says in verse 10, "But the day of the Lord will come." The day of the Lord is sure. The way the words are arranged in the Greek text, it puts special emphasis to say, "The day of the Lord will surely come." There is no doubt about it. The Lord is going to come again.
The Lord has delayed His coming in order to give people an opportunity to be saved. But just as sure as our day is here, the Bible says that the day of the Lord will surely come. It's going to be sure.
Then we are told that the day of the Lord is going be very sudden. In fact, he uses a figure of speech in verse 10. He says, "But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night." We know that Tim LaHaye wrote a series of books around this whole theme here.
This same picture is used by the Lord Jesus. Jesus used the same illustration in Matthew 24:43. He said, "But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up."
Thieves come unannounced. Thieves come unexpectedly. You don't know when they are coming. They come without warning.
Paul used the same illustration in I Thessalonians 5:2. He said, "For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night."
Nowadays, thieves don't wait until the night. They break in during the day time as well. But they do not call you ahead of time and say, "I want you to know that I'm your local neighborhood thief, and I'm going to be breaking into your house today." That's not the way it works.
John talked about this same thing in Revelation 16:15. He said, "Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame."
He comes as a thief. The coming of the Lord will come surely. The coming of the Lord is going to come suddenly. He is going to come unexpectedly without warning. He is going to come as a thief. That's why you shouldn't take any chance on receiving Christ as your Savior because He's going to come when people least expect it and when people are least prepared. That's when the Lord is going to come.
But He's also going to come not only surely, and not only suddenly, but He's going to come very significantly. You will notice in verses 10 and 11 that he talks about what the coming of the Lord is going to mean in terms of our creation, in terms of the world in which we live.
The language here is quite graphic. He says that the Lord will come as a thief in the night and then he says, "The heavens shall pass away with a great noise." The word "pass away" means it is going to disintegrate. It is going to dissolve.
He said that it is going to be with a great noise. The word there is a word that carries the idea of hissing, like the hissing of a snake. Or it's a word that is a picture of crackling, like the crackling of a forest fire, like the whizzing of an arrow, like the screaming of a whip. It is going to come with a great sound, with a huge conflagration and a great sound.
One of the going theories today of the creation of the universe is the Big Bang theory. Astronomers have gone back as far as they are able to go, and they have expostulated that the world began with a big bang. The positive thing about that is that they have come to recognize that there was a beginning. There was something that brought the world into existence. They say that it is a big bang. But they are actually looking in the wrong direction. The big bang didn't start the creation. The big bang is going to end the creation.
The Bible says that the heavens are going to be dissolved with a great noise. There will be a big bang, a thunderous sound.
He says in verse 10, "And the elements shall melt with fervent heat." The word elements mean the rudiments, like the ABC's of a language. It is the ABC's, which are the basic elements of the English language. Language is possible because of these basic elements. You make words and form sentences that way.
He is referring to the building blocks of the universe. "The elements shall melt with fervent heat," the building blocks of the universe.
I think the equivalent of that in our terminology today would be the word atom. He is referring to the atoms which are the building blocks of our universe. Everything is composed of atoms.
It says that these atoms are going to melt, that is, they are going to be dissolved with a fervent heat. The word fervent heat was a word here that was used to describe a fever. When someone had a fever, they had a fervent heat.
It's saying that old mother earth is going to get sick with a fever. Old mother earth is going to be melted; and the elements, the very atoms of the universe, are going to be dissolved.
Before World War II people read this kind of passage in the Bible and they made fun of it. They laughed at this kind of terminology, but they don't laugh any more. We have discovered in our life time how to take the atom apart. We have discovered that we can take the atom apart, and when you do, you unleash unbelievable power.
In 1952 they exploded the first hydrogen bomb in the Pacific Ocean. In the Pacific Ocean it made a hole 175 feet deep, enough to put 14 Pentagon buildings in. It emitted a temperature of 36 million degrees Fahrenheit above the temperature of the sun.
Here is the picture that God has predicted, that in the end time, in God's turn, the whole creation is going to go up in fire and the whole creation is going to melt with a fervent heat.
Then he says, "The works that are in it shall be burned up." Think about that for a moment. He's saying that this old world and everything in this world is going to go up in smoke. It's going to go up in fire. That means that all of the earth's buildings are going to go up. That means that all of our technology, all of our art, all of our culture, it's all going to go up in smoke.
Did you know that a person is a fool to live their life for a world that is going to go up in smoke instead of living their life for eternal things and the Lord Jesus Christ?
In verse 11 he says, "Seeing, then, that all these things shall be dissolved." The word dissolved means to unloose. It's all going to come unloosed. It's all going to come unglued.
We are told in Colossians 1:17, that all things are held together by the Lord, that is, all things are cohesive because of the Lord. In Hebrews 1:3, the Bible says, "And upholding all things by the word of his power."
It's Jesus who's keeping the lid on the creation. It's Jesus Christ who is keeping all of the atoms together. But one of these days Jesus is going to take His hands off of the creation, and the process has already begun. It's a present tense verb. It means that all things are in the process of dissolving right now. Everything you see right now is in the process of going down. It's the Second Law of Thermodynamics, which says that all things are basically winding down.
Look at a car. That brand-new car of yours is in the process of going down. One of these days you will see a piece of rust on that car, and it tells you that it's on the way down. Then it gets four years old and it's time to replace the tires and the motor starts shaking just a little. Then it gets 10 years old and the fenders are beginning to fall off. That car is in the process of dissolving right now.
Take a magnificent building costing millions and millions of dollars to build. Then in a few years you will begin to notice that it is beginning to crack and peel. You will notice that the building is going down.
We have millions of dollars of buildings around here, and we are spending hundreds and thousands of dollars to renovate and to maintain and to repair those buildings because everything in this universe is on the way down. It's the Second Law of Thermodynamics.
We are told scientifically that this world is like a top that is beginning to wind down. It's beginning to wobble already.
Hebrews, chapter 1, talks about it. In verses 10 and following it says, "And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands. They shall perish, but thou remainest; and they all shall wax old as doth a garment, and as a vesture shalt thou fold them up, and they shall be changed; but thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail."
Here you have the contrast. You have this earth and everything in this earth. The Bible says that it is already on the way down, but the Bible says that God is the same. He is eternal. He changes not.
Don't build your life on things that are temporal. Build your life on things that are eternal.
God's turn. One of these days the creation is going up in smoke. You say, "What are we going to do without the earth?" Don't worry about it. We can do without it. I'll tell you about it later on.
II. The Christian.
Then notice that he secondly says something else about God's day. He talks about God's day and the Christian, because when we think about the day of the Lord and the coming of the Lord and the end of the age and God's day, it always makes an impact on the Christian. It always has a series of moral imperatives. For those who know the Lord, there is an imperative. There is a message to the believer to live the right kind of life because Jesus is going to come again.
Look at what it says in II Peter 3:12. He uses two verbs there, looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of the God. Looking for, that is, we should be anticipating the coming of the Lord. Anticipate the day of the Lord, looking unto the coming of the day of the Lord.
What does it mean if we know the Lord as our Savior that Jesus is coming again? In verse 11 it says, "Seeing then, that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be?" When he uses that "what manner of persons," it really means from what country?
Do you remember when Jesus was out on the Sea of Galilee? The Bible says that He rebuked the winds and the waves. In the book of Matthew, chapter 8, when the disciples saw what Jesus had done, here's what they said in verse 27. "But the men marveled, saying, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him?" From what country is this man?
He's saying that the same thing ought to be true of you and me as believers. What manner of person, from what country, are we from? Where do we look in terms of the way we live?
Lost people live for this world because this is the only world they have to look forward to. They look forward to the things of this world. That's all they have to look forward to. That's why lost people take drugs and get hooked on alcohol and why lost people blow their brains out. If this world is the only world you have to look forward to, then there's not much to look forward to.
But the Bible says that the child of God is looking for something else. We're living our life toward the future. We're living our life in anticipation.
I've got something to look forward to. You say, "Are you looking forward to death?" No. That's not what I'm looking forward to. I'm looking to eternity with the Lord Jesus Christ.
Give your life to the Lord Jesus Christ, and 10,000 years from now you will be glad you lived your life for the Lord Jesus Christ. Live your life in all holy conduct and godly living.
It has a moral imperative. We're looking for Jesus to come. Not only are we to be looking for the coming of the Lord, he says also that we should be hastening unto the coming of the Lord. That's an interesting thing. Not only are we to anticipate the coming of the Lord, but that statement says that we can accelerate the coming of the Lord.
We can hasten the coming of the Lord. That's an amazing statement. We do know that there are some things that we can do that can hasten the coming of the Lord. For instance, the Bible says that we are to pray for the coming of the Lord.
You will recall the model prayer. You boys who play ball, right before the game you would all gather up and have the Lord's Prayer. You girls who are cheerleaders, you would gather around and say the Lord's Prayer. "Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come." Every time you pray that, you are praying for Jesus to come again.
We hasten the coming of the Lord by our prayers. We hasten the coming of the Lord by our witnessing, by telling people about Christ.
I heard wonderful testimonies this week about some of you who have led people to Christ. Every time we lead a soul to Christ, that's one more to be added to the body of Christ.
One of these days that final soul is going to be saved. It could be in this service this morning. It may be in this service today that some precious 9-year-old girl will walk forward to give her life to the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Lord might say, "That's the last one. I'm coming to get My church."
We hasten the coming of the Lord by our prayers and by our witnessing. But here he says that we hasten the coming of the Lord by our living, by our behavior, by our godly living.
Let me ask you a question. Think with me for a few minutes. Is Jesus anxious to come back for you? Is Jesus excited about coming back for you? Are you living in such a way that the Lord Jesus says, "I'm anxious to come get that one."
Let me give you a picture here for a moment. Let's take two sets of parents. Two sets of parents are both on the way to college to get their young person. One of these sets of parents is on the way to get their young person who will be awarded the highest honors the school can bestow upon their young person. The other set of parents is on their way to get their young person too because they have just been kicked out.
Let me ask you the question. Which set of parents is anxious to go get their child?
Are you and I living in such a way that Jesus says, "I'm anxious. I'm looking forward to getting them. They are living for Me. Their testimony is consistent for Me. They are living an eternally oriented life. They are the manner of people they should be in all holy conduct and godly living. I'm in a hurry to go get them." Is Jesus anxious to come get you?
Let me flip it on the other side. Are you anxious for Jesus to come and get you? Would you be glad if Jesus came today?
I think about our high school girls through the years, and then I think about myself, how it was when I was dating. Our high school girls fall in love with this boy, and then I talk to them that Jesus may come at any minute. That kind of bothers our girls sometimes, just like it bothered me.
I use to pray, "Oh, Lord. You're not coming now, are You? Let me marry before you come." But let me ask you something. If He came today, would you be glad?
Look at I John 2:2. It says, "And now, little children, abide in him, that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before him at his coming." Do you see what that says? We ought to so be living that when Jesus comes that we won't be ashamed to meet Him.
Are there magazines or DVD's at the house that you wouldn't want Jesus to find if He came today? Get rid of them. Is there anything in your refrigerator you would be embarrassed to show Jesus if He came today? You had better get rid of it.
III. The Consummation.
The day of the Lord will come. God's going to have His turn. It will affect the creation. The day of the Lord will come. He's coming. We are to be looking. We are to be hastening the coming of the Lord. It affects the Christian. The day of the Lord will come. It affects the consummation of the age.
I have pointed out to you in previous messages that there are three worlds mentioned in this third chapter. Look back at verse 7. "But the heavens and the earth which are now." That's the present world. This is the world that's stored with fire.
In verse 6 he says, "By which the world that then was." That's the past world before the flood.
But then notice what he says in verse 13. "Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which dwelleth righteousness." That's the prospective world. There's going to be a new world.
That's why I told you a minute ago not to worry about this world going up in fire. The Bible says that one of these days God is going to create a new heaven and a new earth.
Listen to a couple of verses from the book of Isaiah. I'm preaching on Isaiah on Wednesday nights. Isaiah 65:17, says, "For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth, and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind."
Isaiah 66:2, says, "For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, saith the Lord, so shall your seed and your name remain."
God says, "I'm going to create a new heaven and earth." The word "new" means new in quality. It's going to be superior to what has previously existed. God says, "I am going to create a new heaven. It is going to be something brand-new."
Here's what's going to happen. One of these days the Lord Jesus Christ is going to take His hand off the elements of the universe. He's going to pull these elements apart, and everything which has tainted the universe by the curse of sin will be removed by the fires of God judgment. Then God will put the elements of the universe back together in brand-new newness, and it will be a universe where there will be no sin. There will be nothing wrong in it. That's the world we're headed for.
Then he says that it is going to be a world of righteousness. He says in verse 13, "Look for new heavens and a new earth, in which dwelleth righteousness." "Landscaped by righteousness," some put it.
This is not a world of righteousness. Righteousness doesn't always get done in our world. In fact, when Jesus, the righteous one, came they put Him on a cross. But God says, "I'm going to create a new heaven and earth," and the righteousness will be at home in that world. There will be no more sin. There will be no more wrong. There will be no more injustice. There will be no more defilement. God is going to give us a brand-new heavens and a brand-new earth. That's something to look forward to.
Mamie Eisenhower said, "I am looking forward to the future. I expect to spend the rest of my life there."
Let me ask you a question. Where will you be 50 years from now? Where will you be 100 years from now? A 1,000 years from now, where will you be? You need to settle that this morning. God's day is going to come one of these days.
Pope John Paul II was a remarkable person in many ways. He had earned doctor degrees in theology and in philosophy. He spoke seven languages. But speaking seven languages and having a doctor's degree won't get you into heaven.
He was very conservative. He had a theology of life. He believed that every human life was precious in the sight of God. He had a theology of the body which caused him, on the basis of the sacredness of the body, to believe in sexual purity. But good theology doesn't get you into heaven.
Do you know the only thing that will get Pope John Paul II or anybody into heaven? It is a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. Whether you are a Pope or a plumber, you have to know Jesus to go to heaven. Whether you are a politician or a preacher, you've got to know Jesus in order to get to heaven.
I've been preaching now for over 50 years. I've been preaching Jesus all these years. I've been trying to live for the Lord all these years. I've never touched a drop of alcohol in my life. I've never smoked a cigarette. Do you think that's going to get me into heaven? Do you think that's going to have anything to do with me getting into heaven? The only thing that is going to get me into heaven is when I get to the gates of heaven to be able to say to the Lord, "Lord, nothing in my hand I bring, simply to Thy cross I cling."
I have told this before perhaps, but it bears repeating this morning. A young lawyer went to work for a firm where the senior partner was an older devout Christian. He and the young lawyer were talking one day, and he said to the young lawyer, "What are your plans and what are you anticipating?" The young lawyer said, "I hope to build a solid practice. I hope to have many clients."
The senior partner said, "That's good, but what then?" He said, "I expect to make a great deal of money. My wife and I would like to buy a very nice home in a prominent part of the town." He said, "That's certainly fine, but what then?"
He said, "I would like to be highly respected in the community, and I might even run for political office or do something like that in the city." The senior partner said, "That's wonderful and admirable, but what then?"
He said, "I would like to have an early retirement and have some years to just travel the world and live on my own and do what I want to do for a period of time." He said, "That's wonderful, but what then?"
He said, "I suppose I will retire." The senior said, "What then?" "I suppose I will grow old and I'll die." The senior said, "What then?"
If today were the day that God came for you or you went to be with God, are you ready?
Let's bow our heads in prayer.