Text: 2 Peter 3:9-15
Introduction: The boys cleaning their room
Romans 2:4 through Romans 2:6 (NIV) 4Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness leads you toward repentance?
5But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed. 6God “will give to each person according to what he has done.”
1 Timothy 2:1 through 1 Timothy 2:6 (NIV) 1I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone—2for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. 3This is good, and pleases God our Savior, 4who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. 5For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6who gave himself as a ransom for all men—the testimony given in its proper time.
*** The grace or love of God, whence cometh our salvation, is free in all, and free for all. To this some have answer'd, "No: it is free only for those whom God hath ordained to life; and they are but a little flock. The greater part of mankind God hath ordained to death; and it is not free for them. Them God hateth; and therefore before they were born, decreed they should die eternally. And this was his good pleasure."
This doctrine represents our blessed Lord, "Jesus Christ the righteous," "the only begotten son of the Father, full of grace and truth," as a hypocrite, a deceiver of the people, a man void of common sincerity.
This is the blasphemy clearly contained in the horrible decree of predestination. And here I fix my foot.
-- John Wesley. "George Whitefield," Christian History, Issue 38.
***Repentance is not a fatal day when tears are shed, but a natal day when, as a result of tears, a new life begins.
-- Ilion T. Jones, Christian Reader, Vol. 32, no. 5.
*** God will take nine steps toward us, but he will not take the tenth. He will incline us to repent, but he cannot do our repenting for us.
-- A.W. Tozer, Christian Reader, Vol. 32, no. 5.
***You cannot repent too soon because you do not know how soon it may be too late.
-- Sir Thomas Fuller, Christian Reader, Vol. 32, no. 5.
*** Erin, a young girl who was usually the model of good behavior in church, was particularly wiggly one Sunday morning. After distracting all those around her for some time and ignoring her father's warning to be still, her father finally scooped her up and began walking to the rear of the church for "attitude adjustment." Just before they got to the back door, Erin screamed, "Help! Save me!" The heartfelt plea of the penitent sinner was never more sincere, but it didn't do much for decorum that morning.
-- Robert E. Hays, D. Min., Lawton, OK. Christian Reader, "Lite Fare."
Psalm 86:15 (NIV) 15 But you, O Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God,
slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.
***According to a traditional Hebrew story, Abraham was sitting outside his tent one evening when he saw an old man, weary from age and journey, coming toward him. Abraham rushed out, greeted him, and then invited him into his tent. There he washedthe old man's feet and gave him food and drink.
The old man immediately began eating without saying any prayer or blessing. So Abraham asked him, "Don't you worship God?
The old traveler replied, "I worship fire only and reverence no other god."
When he heard this, Abraham became incensed, grabbed the old man by the shoulders, and threw him out of his tent into the cold night air.
When the old man had departed, God called to his friend Abraham and asked where the stranger was. Abraham replied, "I forced him out because he did not worship you."
God answerd, "I have suffered him these eighty years although he dishonors me. Could you not endure him one night?"
Habakkuk 2:3 (NIV) 3 For the revelation awaits an appointed time;
it speaks of the end
and will not prove false.
Though it linger, wait for it;
it will certainly come and will not delay.
*** The Winter 1991 issue of the University of Pacific Review offers a chilling description of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster:
There were two electrical engineers in the control room that night, and the best thing that could be said for what they were doing is they were "playing around" with the machine. They were performing what the Soviets later described as an unauthorized experiment. They were trying to see how long a turbine would "free wheel" when they took the power off it.
Now, taking the power off that kind of a nuclear reactor is a difficult, dangerous thing to do, because these reactors are very unstable in their lower ranges. In order to get the reactor down to that kind of power, where they could perform the test they were interested in performing, they had to override manually six separate computer-driven alarm systems.
One by one the computers would come up and say, "Stop! Dangerous! Go no further!" And one by one, rather than shutting off the experiment, they shut off the alarms and kept going. You know the results: nuclear fallout that was recorded all around the world, from the largest industrial accident ever to occur in the world.
The instructions and warnings in Scripture are just as clear. We ignore them at our own peril, and tragically, at the peril of innocent others.
-- Tom Tripp in Fresh Illustrations for Preaching & Teaching (Baker), from the editors of Leadership.
*** God never threatens; the devil never warns.
-- Oswald Chambers, Leadership, Vol. 3, no. 1.
1 Thessalonians 5:2 through 1 Thessalonians 5:3 (NIV) 2for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. 3While people are saying, “Peace and safety,” destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.
Revelation 21:26 through Revelation 21:27 (NIV) 26The glory and honor of the nations will be brought into it. 27Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.
*** The guilty would be sentenced, and those who were associated with the condemned would try to distance themselves from them in order that they not share in their blame.
***Take warning from Noah. There were those who didn't believe the report of noah, only to be stricken with terror when for the first time in human history, water fell from the sky. But it was too late. Their world was coming to an end and there was no longer anything they could do about it.
Luke 12:39 through Luke 12:40 (NIV) 39But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. 40You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.”
Revelation 3:3 (NIV) 3Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; obey it, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you.
*** In the movie Casualties of War, Michael J. Fox plays Private Erikson, a soldier in Vietnam who is part of a squad that abducts and rapes a young Vietnamese girl. He didn't participate in the crime.
Afterward, as he struggles with what has happened, he says to the other men in his squad, "Just because each of us might at any second be blown away, we're acting like we can do anything we want, as though it doesn't matter what we do. I'm thinking it's just the opposite. Because we might be dead in the next split-second, maybe we gotta be extra careful what we do. Because maybe it matters more. Maybe it matters more than we ever know."
Death, for all of us, is a breath away. And the nearer death is, the closer we are to answering to God for all we have said and done.
-- Joel Sarrault in Fresh Illustrations for Preaching & Teaching (Baker), from the editors of Leadership.
Revelation 21:1 through Revelation 21:8 (NIV) 1Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. 2I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
5He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”
6He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life. 7He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son. 8But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.”
***Heaven is a holy place, and those who go to heaven will be holy.
Hebrews 12:14 through Hebrews 12:17 (NIV) 14Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. 15See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many. 16See that no one is sexually immoral, or is godless like Esau, who for a single meal sold his inheritance rights as the oldest son. 17Afterward, as you know, when he wanted to inherit this blessing, he was rejected. He could bring about no change of mind, though he sought the blessing with tears.
***Bumper Sticker: If you are living your life like there is no God, you'd better be right.
*** A gentleman visiting a certain school gave out that he would give a prize to the pupil whose desk he found in the best order when he returned. "But when will you return?" some of them asked. "That I cannot tell," was the answer. A little girl, who had been noted for her disorderly habits, announced that she meant to win the prize. "You!" her schoolmates jeered; "why, your desk is always out of order." "Oh! but I mean to clean it the first of every week." "But suppose he should come at the end of the week? someone asked. "Then I will clean it every morning." "But he may come at the end of the day." For a moment the little girl was silent. "I know what I'll do," she said decidedly, "I'll just keep it clean." --McCartney