"Until He Comes"
How ought you to live until Jesus comes? Peter says with holy and godly lives as we look forward to that return. The problem is that some people try to make the Bible say things it doesn't and confuse others. Know the truth and live by it until He comes.
Until He Comes
(2 Pet. 3:11-18)
A. Friday was 11/11/11. One of those fun dates on the calendar. But Friday was also a patriotic date on the calendar. It was Veterans Day; a day in which we honor veterans of all wars and according to the 1938 first declaration, a day in which we desire world peace.
B. For some people WWI or The Great War was viewed as a possible Armageddon and an end of the world. WWII had similar statements made about it. I could only guess those have served in combat in any war have felt it was “end times.”
C. It can cause a person to become pensive. As I reflect and honor those who have served my country, I also think about mortality and if there is a war yet to come like that of WWI or II? I sat thinking about this and contemplating this passage of scripture and the ultimate question came to my mind, “Where will I be the moment after I die?” I know there is a great deal of discussion about “sleeping” spiritually or the Hadean realm, but push it to the bigger end – heaven and hell. Where I will spend eternity? Peter talks about being careful not to fall from our “secure position.” He talks about the Lord’s patience meaning salvation and about Paul’s writings that some people twist to their own destruction.
D. But do I really believe the best is yet to come? Do I see this new heaven and new earth, this home of the righteous so great that I am looking forward to it with anticipation; or want to speed its coming? Does the idea of eternal life with God affect my mortal life on earth? Those are the questions I wrestled with as I prepared for this sermon. I want to know how to live this life so that I am ready for that great day of God in which this earth is destroyed.
E. I began this last week. Peter is calling us to live this life with an eternal perspective. Too many want to wait for heaven to come when to some degree we are living in the kingdom now and its fullness later. So how ought you and I to live in a secular world? Peter gives us the answer.
I. Live In Devotion
A. Verse 11 states that we are to live holy and godly lives. John McArthur compares holiness and godliness this way, “Holy conduct refers to action, godliness refers to attitude. Holy conduct refers to the way I live my life, godliness refers to the spirit of reverence within me by which I live my life. Holy conduct refers to that which rules my behavior, and godliness refers to that which rules my heart. And so he is saying what kind of person ought you to be in heart and in behavior, in motive and in action, in attitude and in duty.”
B. Paul gives this idea of Christian living, using these words, in a greater detail. Listen to Eph. 4:17-24. God wants our whole life pleasing to him. Our lives become a living worship to God. That is part of how we experience the divine in the physical world. We can taste the heavenly goodness and enjoy this life as part of our eternal life. Christianity becomes something that is lived and experienced every day not just on Sunday when we enjoy the collective body rejoicing together.
C. Matthew records Jesus explaining it this way, “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matt. 6:21). When you heart is in your hobby you invest in that hobby. You are willing to spend what you have to enjoy that aspect of your life more fully. If you want a heart for God then invest your treasure of time, talent and money where God is a work. Live in eternity. Live in devotion.
II. Live In Expectancy
A. Peter tells us to “look for and hasten the coming of the day of God.” Peter uses the phrase “looking for” three times in three verses. Read verses 12-14.
B. Expectancy becomes a motivator. Do you get excited during the holidays? I know they can be stressful, but I am talking about seeing family or friends. Just the thought that someone you care about is going to be coming to your home or you to theirs can get you excited. It is that sense of expectancy. You are looking forward to something so great that it impacts your day. You smile more, you are happier, and when people ask “what’s up with you?” you tell them that friends or family are coming. Peter says that is what we need to experience as we look forward to the day of God.
C. Do you understand how this life is changed if you really are looking forward to the coming of Christ or the day you get to see him with new eyes? It really is a taste of heaven on earth. Dr. J. Vernon McGee said, “Today we see a lot of careless, slipshod living, but also a great emphasis on prophecy. I hear people say, “Oh, I’m waiting for the Lord to come!” Brother, my question is not whether you are looking for the Lord to come, but how are you living down here? How you live down here determines whether or not you are really looking for the Lord to come.”
III. Live Diligently
A. Look at the end of verse 14. “make every effort.” This idea is that of being diligent. Our life is lived so closely to God that Peter uses the words that were used to describe the sacrifices of old. “Without spot and blameless.” Brethren we are not only “looking for” but we are “living for” this great day to come. As we are a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God we find ourselves also at peace in Him. What a result of living in devotion, expectancy and diligence.
B. If you knew tomorrow would be your last day, would you be at peace? Living this life requires of us to make every effort. Live your salvation. Salvation is not something that is to come after we die. Yes, we will experience something greater in the spiritual realm, but we can live our salvation every day while we wait, expecting Jesus to come any time. I don’t want to live my life like the face on a poison bottle. I want to live it to the full. I want to talk hold of my salvation and make every effort to keep that which I committed unto him against that day.
A. Let’s close with Peter’s words of verses 17-18. This end time stuff is not new to you. You know that Jesus will come again and could come at any time. You know that we are not guaranteed tomorrow but could die at any time. You know these things. So grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
B. The kids used to sing a song, “read your Bible, pray every day and grow, grow, grow.” How true those words are. Let your salvation be secure and follow the teachings of God.