II Peter 3:3-4, -10a, 13
Last Sun. in Church Year
Our Savior Lutheran Church
Pagosa Springs, Colorado
November 24, 1996
("Be Prepared" is the motto of the Boy Scouts of America. It means to always arrange your life, your equipment, your priorities and your time so that no circumstance will catch you unprepared. In our text today, Christ encourages us to "Be Prepared" for His return. He reminds us that there are those who will scoff at the very thought of His return and if we believe them, we will be unprepared. We are told also of the extraordinary patience of God as He delays His return for the sake of His people, and finally, He redirects our thinking so that our day-to-day lives reflect the reality of His return.
SCOFFERS WILL TAUNT US FOR OUR HOPE OF CHRIST'S RETURN.
We will be called "fools" for waiting for something that will never happen.
Others will point to the past and claim that everything goes on as it always has.
This is, of course, not true.
Remember the flood? (v. 6-7)
Sometimes well-intended, but mistaken Christians add to the conclusion of the world that we are fools.
This occurs when the Scriptures are ignored and people insist on setting a date and time for Christ's return. (Mt. 24:36-39)
It is not wise for either believer or unbeliever to ignore the Word of God.
Those who scoff have a vested interest in disbelieving Christ's promised return.
They have an interest in remaining their own authority rather than recognize that Christ's return indicates that all authority rests in Him.
If Christ is truly coming back, then their lives have been constructed on totally false premises.
If Christ is truly coming back, then people cannot continue to conduct their lives as if He weren't.
In the eyes of the disbelieving world, the Word of God must - at all costs - be discredited.
Never has any book in all of history sustained the attacks that the Bible has endured.
Even "theologians" have contributed to this tragedy:
Discard the plain words to find the "real" meaning behind the words.
All this is done so that the supernatural events of God's actions can be explained away and discarded.
THE LORD HAS WITHHELD JUDGMENT IN HIS PATIENCE.
In His heart-of-hearts, God desires to condemn no one!
There is a mistaken notion that God can't wait to "smack" sinners.
Some have even mistakenly taught that Jesus died only for those whom He knew would come to faith...NOT SO!
It is God's holiness and justice that demand that unrepentant sinners receive what their self-righteousness demands...Hell!
Hell is God's final surrender to man's insistence that God leave him alone.
The scoffers are wrong on two counts:
They have failed to recognize that all things have no continued without divine intervention...The Flood!
They have not recognized the real reason for Christ's delay in coming: God is long-suffering, and is fervently waiting for them to hear His gracious call to faith.
His life and death were for all people, not just some people...even the scoffers!
The knowledge of the right time is God's possession alone.
He stands above and beyond all human perceptions of time.
Hence, a day is as a thousand years and a thousand years as a day.
God will not be contained by that which He created.
He is the Master of time and space.
Aren't you glad?
Would you rather have humans deciding when the world should end?
No, God only can know when all who will be called will be called. (Mt. 24:14)
IN THE LIGHT OF CHRIST'S RETURN, WHAT KIND OF PEOPLE OUGHT WE TO BE?
Since everything the world calls "success" will be totally destroyed, what's really important in this life?
Think of it...All the incredible human energy that has been expended in the building of empires political and economic is the final analysis is a waste of time and energy.
All of it will be gone in an instant!
Then what will it have meant?
ILLUS: In the Market Crash of ' 29, people panicked and some ended their own lives in despair that all that had been worked for was gone...That was nothing!
What really counts?
Living a holy and godly life, Peter replies.
ILLUS: What if God announced in the media that the world would end tomorrow. What would that do to our perceptions about what was important? Well, God has already made the announcement... what is that fact doing to change our lives today?
Living a holy and godly life is the result of being at peace with God.
Don't make the mistake of turning this around!
We do not live holy and godly lives to obtain peace with God.
That peace is a free gift given to us in Christ and results in the desire and the ability to live a holy and godly life!
Peace with God is the direct result of the forgiveness of sins which is ours because Jesus has removed our sins from us and taken them on Himself.
Peace with God is knowing that no longer is there any barrier of sin in our lives that will keep us from eternal life with the Father.
Peace with God is knowing that we were sealed to Christ in our baptism and that there is absolutely no doubt about our eternal destination!
This peace leads us to live lives that reflect that grace to others.
Here is life at its best.
Here is life with its priorities on straight.
Here is life that is going somewhere.
Here is life when everything else is gone to dust and ashes.
Copyright © 2001 CrossTies Counseling
All Rights Reserved