Living Ready For Christ’s Return Pt.2
Given all the things happening in our World:
- The war in Ukraine, never mind all the other wars going on…
- The latest financial-economic upheaval and unrest…
- The floods, earthquakes, famines, pandemics, & plagues…
- The increasing, open, hostile rejection of God & His Word in society, never mind increasingly, inside the church
- And many other similar, terrible events….
They prompt the question: are we living in the End Times?
- Well, yes, beloved, we are living in “the last days”
- And, we’ve been living in them, since the Lord Jesus ascended into heaven, 2,000 yrs ago.
Is there reason to fear becoz of current world events?
- No, absolutely not! Becoz: God, Almighty is still in control
Is there reason to Fear God? Yes, there is always reason to fear God
- Why? becoz, our God is in control & He is the coming Judge!
- Our God is still sovereignly in control, of everything!
- Everything is going exactly according to His eternal plan…
- Nothing, that’s happening here on earth, is outside of his knowledge, will or control.
So, how then should we, Christ’s followers, respond to these events?
- The apostle Peter, Jesus’ closest, earthly friend, is waiting, (likely in a Roman dungeon), ready to die for his faith in Christ.
- Peter knows something of the terrible, cataclysmic world events that will transpire when Christ returns….
- …he knows that “the laying aside of his earthly dwelling (his body) is imminent, as Christ made it clear to him, 1:14
- And so Peter “considers it right, as long as he is in this earthly dwelling, to stir-up his readers by way of reminder” 1:13
- Peter knows that we’re prone to wander, drift from the faith
- He writes to remind us:
- of the basic truths of Christian faith,
- to beware of the false teachers,
- to Prepare us for the coming Day of the Lord.
- The Day of Lord-Christ’s Coming could happen at any moment.
- Of this we are absolutely sure, Christ Will Return!
- Are We Ready? Are You… Am I Prepared for His Return?
Jesus, while answering questions about His return, (Matt.24-25), emphasised: no one but the Father knows when & we must prepare!
- In 24:42, He said “Be on the Alert, for you do not know which day your Lord is coming”
- In 24:44, Jesus said: “You also must be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not think He will
- In24:50, Jesus said “The Master will come at an hour the slave does not expect him
- In Mark 13:32 Jesus said “…that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone
- Peter in 1Peter 1:13, speaks similarly: “…prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you, at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
And here in: 2Peter 3:10-18
- Peter promises, the Day of the Lord, will come!!
- It will bring total destruction of the Heavens & the Earth
- It will bring a New Heavens and a New Earth…
(1st MP) So, Must we Know the Reality of Christ’s Return
- And, All of this, as dramatic and intriguing as it is,
- Is just the motivation, the reason behind Peter’s main point
- 11, since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct & godliness,
(2nd MP) We must Be Ready for Christ’s Return…
- And, being ready for His Return includes a number of things:
1stly) we saw: Being Ready means in Living in Holy Conduct & Godliness
- Just as God, who calls us is Holy, so we ought to be holy in all our conduct, living in readiness for Christ to return!
2ndly) we saw: Being Ready means Looking for & Hastening Day of God
- 6:10, Jesus taught us to Pray: Your kingdom come!
- Acts 3:19, Peter demonstrated that We’re to Preach the Gospel, to hasten, to bring Christ’s return ever sooner
- he called on men-women: “to repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord; and that He may send Jesus the Christ” that’s Christ’s return – The Day of the Lord.
- When the last of God’s elect people R saved, Christ will return.
3rdly) we saw: Being Ready means Being Diligent to be Christ-Like
- 14, we’re to be diligent to be found: by Christ, in peace, “spotless & blameless”
- Peter used those 2 Gr. words to describe Jesus, in 1Peter1:19
- So, we are to exercise every effort to be morally pure
- to put off all sin, and the habits that defile us rendering us unfit for any good work,
- We’re to put on the new man; we’re to put on Christ, 13:12
Christ Is Returning – the Day of the Lord is Coming!
- We’re to be Ready for His return by striving to be Christ-like!
- And, give thanks, Beloved!
- It is not left entirely to us to put off the old man and put on the new… “For it is God who is at work in us, both to will and to do for His good pleasure.” As Paul says in 2:13
- If He was not at work in us to will-do, we would neither desire nor do that which pleases God. So praise God for his work in us.
4thly) we saw: Being Ready means Being Busy… in Evangelism
- Peter says in vs.15, Regard the patience of God as Salvation
- 3:9, The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish, but for all to come to repentance.
- God wishes for all men to be saved, but no, that won’t happen
- Sadly scripture makes it clear: millions will go to a lost eternity
- But, Becoz of God’s patience in sending Christ to return,
- the gospel has come to them… to the Gentiles,
- PTL!!, Becoz God is patient every believer here at NPEBC has come to know Christ-Salvation…
- Becoz God is patient, there is indeed salvation available for so many more people, who do not yet know Christ as Saviour!
Bros & Sis, Regard the patience of God as opportunity for more and…
- more to come to faith in Christ.
- Christ is surely returning – the Day of the Lord is coming
Christian, Get busy with Gospel, for God’s patience is salvation
So, we saw last week, that we must prepare for Christ’s return:
- 1) By living in holy conduct & Godliness
- 2) By looking for and hastening the Day of the Lord
- 3) By being diligent to be Christ-like: spotless and blameless
- 4) By being busy in evangelism
5thly) Being Ready means Being On Our Guard against Error.
- Notice Vs.17, Be on your guard, so that you are not carried away by the error of unprincipled men…
- We need to understand the logic-flow behind the command:
- Peter is saying, 15-16 that Paul, had written about the same things, that he has just written about:
- holy conduct, Godliness,
- being spotless, blameless and
- taking advantage of God’s patience to preach gospel
- …but certain untaught & unstable men have taken the things Paul wrote about, (similar to him) and distorted and misinterpreted them, in the same way they do to all Scripture…
- And the will result of that distortion, is their own destruction.
- So, knowing this, beforehand, Let us be, on our guard,
- …lest we, (being carried away/deceived/misled, by the error of unprincipled men),
- we fall out of our steadfast state.
- Notice the error we must avoid comes fr men w/ 3 character.
- 16, They’re Untaught…
- 16, They’re Unstable…
- 17,They’re Unprincipled…
- 1) The untaught are lit. amathees, ignorant, lacking in education, it’s fr. same word-group as disciple/discipline, only it’s the opposite, or negative of it: so these men: lack discipline
- These’re men who refuse to submit to discipline, train. instruct.
- 2) They’re Unstable meaning: weak, unsupported, unsettled,
- Prov.5:6, we know the unstable do not ponder the path of life… they don’t think, or consider God’s way of life & salvation.
- James 1:6-8, we learn that the unstable are doubters, without faith, asking for wisdom, yet doubting God as they do
- They’re double-minded & shouldn’t expect answers to prayer
- 3) They’re Unprincipled men meaning wicked, lawless, and sinful
- Peter uses the same word in 2:7, to describe the men of Sodom & Gomorrah – ungodly, wicked, depraved men.
- These type of men distort the teachings of all the Scriptures
- Btw, did u Notice, Peter equated Paul’s writings with OT Scripture. The apostles understood that their letters & writings were on the level of the OT, sacred Scripture.
- The danger is, that if we’re not careful, not on our guard, we will fall prey to the error of these ungodly, untaught, wicked men, and fall out of our state of steadfastness.
Listen, beloved, the Day of the Lord is coming!
- The return of Christ is very near!
- We want to be found, by Him, in Peace, Spotless & Blameless…
- In light of that sure reality, let’s us be on our guard, against the error that rises from ungodly men who distort scripture.
- So, what exactly is the error of unprincipled-wicked men?
- Well, wicked men unrepentantly, do wicked, sinful, deeds.
- If I had to give an answer to specifics:
- In 3:8, Paul says he is slanderously reported as saying let us do evil that good may come,
- In 6:1, he asks that as a question: what shall we say, shall we sin that grace may abound? And he answers the question in strongest terms: May it never be!
- Their error is to take, and make, the grace of God, the grounds to sin even more, so that (supposedly) grace may abound… that Beloved is to spit on God & His grace!
- That is to distort the scripture’s teaching regarding holy conduct, Godliness, being spotless and blameless
- Now, that’s one suggestion for their error….
- But in a general answer it is to fall into unrepentant sin..
- So Peter says be on our guard, lest we fall into that error and lose, fall away from our steadfastness, following Christ
So, then, How do we Be on our Guard ag. those errors?
- I would argue several – four practical steps to be on our guard
(My apologies, I realised after I printed the note sheets, the numbering format got all messed up, sorry about that)
1) In contrast to being Untaught
- We stand guard, by Submitting to Discipline of Instruction
- Beloved, why is the gathering of the church for the teaching, preaching & exposition of scripture so important?
- So, that we can all submit to the Discip. Of Instruction
- Why should we all be reading hard books (Puritan)?
- Why should we all be wrestling to grasp Paul’s difficult teach?
- So we can be on our guard ag. being carried away by error of wicked men, and so fall from our state of steadfastness.
2) In contrast to being Unstable thru Doubting and faithlessness
- We stand guard by Combining what we are taught, with Faith.
- Listen, it is not enough to merely hear Godly, Biblical Instruct’n
- What we hear, must be Received by Faith!
- James, in ch.1, vss. 21–22 says: Therefore, putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls. 22 But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.
- How do we receive Biblical instruction? By Faith!
- How do we combine instruction with faith?
- By heeding & obeying
- By hearing & doing
- By accepting scriptural truth, as from God, and submitting to it, in faith, that God will work that biblical truth for our sanctification – which pleases the Lord.
- We trust that what God is bringing before us, is for our good
- We believe what the scripture says is true, right, good and applicable for us… for me… to apply to my life!
- If you… if we listen to sermon after sermon, all week long
- If we listen to good solid biblical podcasts, programs, read good, hard books, rich theology – but are not receiving it by faith in God – it will be of little to no value to us…
- It will be of value, only for our condemnation, for failing to trust God, and obey what he has told us.
- What we hear must be received as for our own heart by Faith
- It must be mixed w/ faith thru practice of what we hear.
- Bros & Sis, we stand guard, by receiving the Word, in Faith
- We stand guard by receiving the truth of God as guard against erroneous thinking, erroneous attitudes, and erroneous actions
Bros & Sis, Christ is returning!
- Do not be found by Him, engaged, unrepentantly, in sinful, ungodly behaviour…
- Rather, submit to discipline of instruction and receive that instruction by faith, so that U can do the third pt.
3rd) In contrast to being Unprincipled, Lawless & Wicked
- We stand guard by Striving to Obey Godly Instruction.
- Listen if ungodly, unrepentant sin is the error of wicked men
- Then the opposite will be the righteous behaviour of Godly men.
- So, in agreement w/ H. Spirit’s internal working, we strive to Obey what we are taught
- We submit to discipline of instruction,
- We receive what we are instructed by faith, without doubting
- We obey as ‘lawful’ for our lives as godly women-men, to be found by Christ, in peace with God-men, spotless and blameless.
- It is not merely knowing truth, it is living truth
4th) We stand guard against the error of unprincipled men,
- by Handling our Understanding of Scripture w/ Humility….
- Given that these points have such an emphasis on Truth,
- We need to recognise that having a knowledge of truth carries a subtle danger… w/o Humility, Knowledge easily leads to Pride.
- In my travels, I’ve met many men who pridefully claim to have a great, deep knowledge of scripture, and their pride led them down the slippery slope of not doing what they knew
- My old mentor-friend, U.Jack, had a profound knowledge of scripture, and was a remarkably humble, quiet man
- And while we may avoid the error of ungodly men on one level, by submitting to Discipline of Instruction, Receiving it with Faith, & Putting it into practice w/ diligent obedience…
- Our slippery, subtle, enemy, the father of lies, will quickly find a way to use that knowledge we’ve gained to build an arrogant pridefulness within…
- Paul said it the best: 8:1,
- Knowledge makes arrogant, but love edifies.
- Paul again said: 4:7, “For who regards you as superior? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as if you had not rec’d it?”
- Bros & sis, hold: biblical knowledge that you have w/ Humility
- Bros & sis, we have received that knowledge, that wisdom we’ve gained, as a gracious, kind gift of God!
- God supplied the Bible, from which we are instructed..
- God sent the teacher who taught you…
- God opened your eyes-ears to hear the truth…
- God worked it thru you by the power of His H. Spirit…
- God’s Spirit taught, explained & made real the teaching u rec’d
- Bros & Sis, the Biblical, Theological knowledge that we’ve been blessed to gain and understand and apply, is all God’s doing!
Lastly) Being Ready means Growing in Grace & Knowledge of the Lord
- Finally this last point from our text…
- In contrast to being carried away, Peter says: Grow!
- It is a beautiful finish to where we have just been
- Submit to the discipline of instruction, not being untaught
- Receive the implanted Word w/o doubting, not being unstable
- Strive to obey the Word, not being Unprincipled-Wicked
- And with all of that as the pre-requisite, Grow!
- By God’s Grace, we’re to Grow in Love,
- 3:12 and may the Lord cause you to increase and abound in love for one another, and for all people…”
- By God’s Grace, we’re to Grow in Fruitfulness,
- 2 Cor.9:8, And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed;
- By God’s Grace, we’re to Grow in All-Aspects (everything) into Him who is the Head, even Christ…
- But, How does real spiritual growth occur?
- Real spiritual growth is not merely Knowledge gained
- Altho, It’s certainly Necessary for growth (1Peter.2:1)
- Real spiritual growth is not only Exercising faith
- Altho, growth is Impossible w/o faith
- Real spiritual growth is not only the result of Obedience
- Altho we certainly won’t grow without obedience
Real Spiritual Growth req. God’s Grace… God’s kindness… God’s favour
- Real Spiritual Growth is a Gift of God’s Grace
- Paul said in 3:6-7, He “planted, Apollos watered, But God was causing the growth, so then neither the one who plants, nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth
Real Spiritual Growth is the Result of both Grace and Knowledge,
- the source & fountain of which is Jesus Christ, H-self.
- Peter says Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord…
- The ‘of’ is ‘Genit. of Source’ mean. the vs could be translated:
- Grow in the Grace and Knowledge, that comes from Christ.
- Without the Grace of God, causing the growth, we won’t grow!
So then what do we do? How do we obey Peter’s command to grow?
- We submit to the Discipline of Learning…
- and we plead with God for Grace to Grow
- We receive the Implanted Word, by Faith, w/o Doubting,
- and we plead with God for more Grace to Grow
- We strive in the power of the Holy Spirit to Obey God
- and we plead with God for even more Grace to Grow
- And when God causes that Growth… then we realise that it’s all of God’s doing, & not of ourselves… and that develops: Humility
Bros & Sisters, Be Ready for Christ’s Return by Growing…
To take it all back to where we began… to summarise it….
- Peter said the Day of the Lord will come, like a thief in night
- And we’re convinced it will
- Peter asked: what sort of people ought we to be, in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the day of God
- Peter commanded us to be ready for Christ’s Return by….
- Being Diligent to be found by Him, in peace, spotless & blameless
- By Regarding the Patience of the Lord as Salvation
- By Being on Our Guard, lest (being carried away) we fall from steadfastness
- By Growing, in the grace & knowledge that comes from Christ…
But, Why? Why should we do all these things?
- Why not just simply trust the Lord for Salvation,
- I’m forgiven… I got a home in heaven
- I’m just gonna coast the rest of the way home???
- Because, our Lord Jesus Christ would not be remotely glorified by us, if we could do that (which we can’t, coz its disobedience)
- But, to Know the Certainty of His Coming and….
- To be Ready for His coming… and…
- To be found, by Him, in peace, spotless and blameless
- That glorifies Christ infinitely more!
- It Glorifies Him, by reflecting back to Him, and to all those around us, Christ’s very own character…
Christ Saved us, to display Himself, thru us, to the world around us!
For the glory of His Name
Christ Saved us, to display Himself, thru us, to His Father & Angels
For the glory of His Name