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What to Do Until the Lord Comes Back - Part 2

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What to Do Until the Lord Comes Back - Part 2

2 Peter 3:9-14

Sermon by Rick Crandall

Grayson Baptist Church - April 28, 2013

*If we believe what the Bible says about Jesus Christ, then we know that the Lord is coming back some day. And it could be someday soon. What should we do until the Lord comes back? Tonight let me give you 3 more answers we can see here in the Word of God.

1. First: Help people avoid the horror.

*The Lord's return will be a time of great happiness for believers. Unfortunately, it will also be a time of great horror for many people, because they will not be ready for His return.

*Peter described it in vs. 9-12:

9. The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.

10. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up.

11. Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness,

12. looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat?

*In vs. 10, Peter talked about "the day of the Lord" coming "as a thief in the night." J. Vernon McGee gave this explanation: "There is some argument as to whether this takes place at the coming of Christ to establish His Kingdom or at the end of the millennial Kingdom." McGee says, "I am convinced that the Day of the Lord is an extended period of time which opens with the Tribulation, followed by the thousand-year reign of Christ, the brief rebellion led by Satan, and the judgment of the Great White Throne. Then, as we find in the Book of Revelation, the new heavens and the new earth come into view." (1)

*Please listen again to vs. 10, and James Merritt's great explanation of this verse. Verse10 says: "But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up."

*James Merritt explained: "(This) is absolutely one of the most fascinating verses you will read in all of the Bible, and I want to show you why. There are a number of fascinating words in this tremendous prophecy. For example: We are told here 'the elements will melt with fervent heat.' In the field of Physics it meant 'the components into which matter is divided.' In today's English, the word would simply be expressed by the word 'atoms.'

*In other words, just as the letters of the alphabet are the component parts of words, so also are atoms the component parts of the elements. Then we are told that these elements will 'melt.' This word literally means to 'disintegrate, to break up, to be dissolved.' It carries the idea of something being broken down into its basic parts, which is exactly what happens when atomic energy is released.

*We now know that there is atomic power stored in the elements that make up this world. As a matter of fact, back in vs.7, what Peter literally said was, 'this earth is now stored with fire.' One day God is going to release this fire. So putting it together, the Holy Spirit says that the elemental particles of matter, which we now call atoms, are going to be dissolved, destroyed, and released.

*In other words, this tremendous energy of fire is going to be set free. But furthermore we are told that 'the heavens will pass away with a great noise.' That comes from a single Greek word which literally means 'with a hissing and crackling sound,' or 'with the rushing sound as of roaring flames.' Originally, it referred to the whizzing of an arrow rushing to its target. When the atom bomb was first tested in the Nevada desert, more than one reporter said that it gave 'a whirring sound,' or 'a crackling sound.'

*Finally, we are told 'the elements will melt with fervent heat.' On March 9, 1979, we may have gotten a clue as to how this is going to happen. On that day, 9 satellites, stationed at various points in the solar system, recorded a bizarre event deep in space. It was the most powerful burst of energy ever recorded. The burst of radiation lasted for only 1/10 of a second. But in that instant it emitted as much energy as the sun does in 3,000 years.

*If that gamma ray burst had occurred in the Milky Way galaxy in which we live, our entire atmosphere would have been set on fire. If the sun had suddenly emitted the same amount of energy, our earth would have been vaporized instantly." (2)

*Church it only takes about 115 pounds of fissionable material to make a nuclear bomb. What's going to happen when the whole world, the whole universe goes up? What a terrifying scene for anyone not resting in the safety of Jesus Christ!

*As C.S. Lewis once wrote: "When the author walks onto the stage, the play is over. God is going to invade, all right. But what is the good of saying you are on His side then, when you see the whole natural universe melting away like a dream and something else comes crashing in? This time it will be God without disguise; something so overwhelming that it will strike either irresistible love or irresistible horror into every creature. It will be too late then to choose your side. That will not be the time for choosing. It will be the time when we discover which side we really have chosen, whether we realized it before or not." (3)

*Now, today, this moment, is our chance to choose the right side. Now is the time to get ready. And now is the time to help everyone else get ready.

*Remember that God wants to save every soul. Don't count anybody out yet! Don't write anybody off. God's Word makes this absolutely clear in vs. 9, where Peter said: "The Lord is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance."

*God wants everybody to go to Heaven. As Jesus Himself said in John 3:16-17:

16. "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

17. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved."

*God the Father wants us to go to Heaven so much that He sent His only begotten Son into the world to die on the cross for us. God the Son wants us to go to Heaven so much that He humbled Himself to become a man and hung on that cross for us. And now the Risen Savior offers eternal life to everyone who will receive it.

*God wants everybody to go to Heaven by seeing themselves as sinners, and then by trusting Jesus Christ for forgiveness and cleansing. The Lord wants us to turn to Him and trust in Him. Then He wants us to do everything we can to help others escape the horrors of the day of the Lord.

*What should we do until the Lord comes back? Help people avoid the horror.

2. And commit to live in holiness.

*Commit yourself to live a holy and godly life. Looking ahead in vs. 10-11, Peter wonders how we could live any other kind of life.

*So Peter said:

10. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up.

11. Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness?

*Thinking on these verses back in 1977, David Roper gave this testimony: "A couple of months ago, my son barged into the bedroom in the middle of the night and shouted, 'Dad, our neighbors' house is on fire!' I jumped out of bed and opened the front door. A blast of heat came at me. Across the street our neighbor's house was going up in flames. Firemen were able to save part of it, but the living room, kitchen and garage were totally destroyed. I thought of their beautiful, irreplaceable antiques. They were gone, just like that!

*The fire illustrated for me the truth of this statement: 'Things don't last.' The things that people put their time and money and efforts into frequently are gone in a flash. Certainly they will be gone when Jesus Christ comes back.

*Now, that is the point. The knowledge that all these things are going to be burned up some day ought to totally change our perspective on life. What do we give ourselves to, in view of that fact? It ought to change our attitude toward our clothes, our furniture, our houses, our buildings, our land, our cars, all the things that we invest our time and money and effort and thought in.

*As stewards we certainly ought to take care of them, but Peter's point is: 'Let us not become preoccupied with them, because they are all going to burn up some day. Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness?'" (4)

*The return of Christ should spur us on to holy living. But thank God we don't have to do it in our own strength! The great missionary Hudson Taylor reported he learned that holiness did not come by striving, -- but by resting in the Holy One. (5)

*Jerry Shirley once said, "By the Holy Spirit, Jesus has come to live IN us that He might live THROUGH us. And when He does, others see the image of Christ shining through this veil of flesh." Jerry went on to say, "Let me ask you a question: How would life be different if Jesus were to come take your place? What if He took your place in the home? What if He performed your work on the job? What if He filled my place in the pulpit?

*Yet, that is exactly what He wants to do. He came to live within me to mortify the carnal works of this body, and master the circumstances of my life. He came to live within me to manifest His character, and minister to others whom my life touches every day." (6)

*One of the most important reasons Jesus is living in us, is so He can live through us. But sometimes we get in the way of what God wants to do through us. So God wants us to take another look at the world on fire. That will help start a fire in our hearts to live a holy, godly, Christ-like life.

*What should we do until the Lord comes back? Commit to live in holiness.

3. And look forward with God's sure hope.

*Three times in vs. 11-14, Peter tells us to be "looking forward." And because of our relationship with Jesus Christ, we can look forward with sure hope.

*Peter said:

11. Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness,

12. looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat?

13. Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.

14. Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless.

*Believers, we can look forward with a sure hope that Jesus will come back. And when He does come back, He is going to create new heavens and a new earth. It will be just as He promised.

*Dr. George Sweeting once estimated that "more than a fourth of the Bible is predictive prophecy. Both the Old and New Testaments are full of promises about the return of Jesus Christ. Over 1,800 references appear in the Old Testament. Seventeen Old Testament books give importance to this theme.

*Of the 260 chapters in the New Testament, there are more than 300 references to the Lord's return, one out of every 30 verses. Twenty-three of the 27 New Testament books refer to this great event! For every prophecy on the first coming of Christ, there are eight on Christ's second coming." (7)

*And God is going to keep every single one of His promises! Christ's return is guaranteed. The new heavens and new earth are guaranteed! So Christians, we can look forward with sure hope.

*In Romans 15:10-13, Paul talked about the hope we have in Jesus Christ, hope not just for the Jews, but also for the Gentiles, hope for everyone who would open their hearts to receive Jesus as Savior and Lord.

*Paul began by quoting the Old Testament:

10. Again he says: "Rejoice, O Gentiles, with His people!''

11. And again: "Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles! laud Him, all you peoples!''

12. And again, Isaiah says: "There shall be a root of Jesse; and He who shall rise to reign over the Gentiles, in Him the Gentiles shall hope.''

13. Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

*Hebrews 6:19-20 says:

19. This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil,

20. where the forerunner has entered for us, even Jesus, having become High Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.

*Christians, we can look forward with sure hope, because of our relationship with Jesus Christ.

*Frederick Meyer was one of the great preachers of England in the late 1800's. Meyer once told about two Germans who wanted to climb the Matterhorn Mountain in the Alps. They hired three guides and began to climb the steepest and most slippery part.

*The men were all tied together, and part way up the mountain, the last man lost his footing. He was temporarily held up by the other 4, because each had a toe hold in the ice. But then the next man slipped, and the next, and the next.

*The only one to stand firm was the first guide, who had driven a spike deep in the ice. And because he did, all of the other men were saved! Frederick Meyer concluded by saying, "I am like one of those men who slipped. But thank God, I am bound in a living partnership to Christ. And because He stands, I will never perish." (8)

*That is our sure hope in the Lord!

CONCLUSION

*Jesus is definitely coming back! What should we do until He gets here?

-Help people avoid the horror coming on everyone who doesn't know the Lord.

-Of course, make sure that you know Him first.

-Then commit to live in holiness.

-And keep looking forward with God's sure hope.

*Let's go to the Lord in prayer.

(1) Through the Bible with J. Vernon McGee - 2 Peter 3:10

(2) Sermons.com sermon "You Can Take It to the Bank" by James Merritt - 2 Peter 3:1-10

(3) C.S. Lewis - "Mere Christianity" - Harper, San Francisco - Zondervan Publishing House, Copyright renewed 1980 - p. 65

(4) KERUX SERMON COLLECTION - ID Number: 1308 - PREACHER: Rev. David Roper - LOCATION: Peninsula Bible Church, Palo Alto, California - DATE: 5221977 - MAIN TEXT: 2 Peter 3:1-18 - Title: "Putting Things in Order"

(5) Original source unknown

(6) SermonCentral sermon "The Gospel of Jesus - When God Shows Through" by Jerry Shirley - Matthew 5:1-5

(7) SermonCentral illustration submitted by Guy Caley - Source: "Today in the Word" - MBI - December, 1989, p. 40

(8) "Our Daily Bread" - Source: Sermonillustrations.com - SECURITY

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