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The End [5-5-24]




May 5, 2024

2 Peter 3:9-10

“The End”


Has this ever happened to you? Whether in person or over the phone or electronically, in a conversation with someone, the subject of your Christian faith comes up. The conversation is with an unbeliever. Could be a relative. Could be a friend. Doesn’t matter. Inevitably, the person will use ridicule or mocking to make what they think are clever points. Sometimes they bring up shop-worn tropes…how could a loving God allow children to get cancer and die? Things like that. Have you ever been confronted with mockery or ridicule over your Christian faith?


2 Peter 3:3 says, “Knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires.”


Interesting. People have been using mockeration for thousands of years 

against the beliefs of believers. Also interesting how such strong reaction reveals an essential truth.


Have you ever wondered why some unbelievers get so angry when talking to or about Christians? When you think about it, your beliefs are just that…your beliefs. As reasonable, rational followers of Jesus, we pose no threat to anyone. We don’t oppress. We don’t physically confront or harm. We don’t yell or scream or carry on. We are not unhinged. Here’s an imagined exchanged that does a good job of capturing how these things play out:

Secular Person: I want to do X.

Christian: You’re free to do it.

Secular Person: But you think X is wrong.

Christian: Yes.

Secular Person: Because you want to control me.

Christian: No. You’re free to do whatever you wish.

Secular Person: But you think X is wrong.

Christian: Yes, but only because I want what’s best for you.

Secular Person: But I want to do X.

Christian: You’re free to do it.

Secular Person: But I want you to say that X is good.

Christian: But I can’t say that.

Secular Person: Why are you such a hateful, intolerant bigot?

You get the point. We’re nothing but harmless little fuzzballs of grace and mercy. So why the heat from unbelievers? Why do some people get so toxic when it comes to Christians?


Again, 2 Peter 3:3 nails it: “Knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires.”


Verse 3 nails it. These are godless people justifying their libertine lifestyle. It is a self-justifying hostility. That’s why it is easy to remain calm in front of harsh critics. You are at peace with the knowledge of your salvation 

through Christ and Christ alone. Nothing can shake you. Amen?

The specific mockery Peter addresses in verse three has to do with the return of Jesus Christ. They flat out ask, “Where is the promise of his coming?”


What Peter is talking about is what Jesus promised. He will return. Jesus will establish his glorious earthly kingdom.


Think of the implications:

  • Wrong will be made right.

  • Injustice will be replaced by fairness and equity.

  • Suffering will vanish.

  • Those who have suffered will be rewarded.

  • The curse of sin and death will be removed.

  • Paradise lost will be regained.

  • The hope of our hearts for a better world will be realized.

False teachers mocked those promises. More than promises, they are assurance from Jesus himself of the kingdom to come.


There are two beautiful verses from the song, “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For,” by U2:

I believe in the kingdom comeThen all the colors will bleed into oneBleed into oneBut yes I'm still running

You broke the bondsAnd you loosed the chainsCarried the crossOf my shameOh my shameYou know I believe it

I see it as a song of longing…of hoping for something beyond self; beyond this life. There’s a longing in the human spirit for the ultimate triumph of good. There’s a desire that the trajectory of this great, big, wonderful, confounding life will carry beyond the here-and-now. We hope to someday know the unknowable. 


These hopes transcend culture and worldview.

My wife and I have been watching the limited television series, Shogun. It is outstanding. It’s set in Japan, over 400 years ago. There’s a scene where an estranged couple talk about their future together. I won’t spill too many beans if you plan to watch it or aren’t caught up yet. She says {and I’m paraphrasing here}, “I would rather live 1,000 years on earth than die with you today.” Did it hit you like it hit us? We’d say something like, “I’d rather die today than spend the next 1,000 years here with you.” Even a culture absent the Judeo-Christian influence developed a heightened sense of something glorious beyond this life.


Imagine being in a church where the promise of the return of Jesus Christ was mocked. That’s what Peter was up against.


The Day of the Lord will come. History in this world as we know it will 

come to an end. And it’s going to be a grand and glorious thing. For believers. And as Peter reminds us, God is patient for the sake of unbelievers. As verse nine reminds us, “God is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.”


With that in mind, let’s read 2 Peter 3:9-10:

The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.


The question is not if Jesus returns. It’s simply a matter of when. And we can’t even begin to pretend to have any inside information on when that will be. It’s not like knowing exactly when the next eclipse will be.


“The Lord will come like a thief.” Jesus taught it’s impossible to know when that day will come. Here’s just one place where it’s mentioned:

“But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only.”

  • Matthew 24:36

For that reason, believers should be ready at any time. Are you with me on that?

And what are we to be ready for? What is the promise Peter fights so strongly for?


Imagine if life in this world is all there is. Imagine if no wrongs would ever be made right. Imagine no transformation of this place into a better world. Imagine no end to pain. Imagine no end to sickness. Imagine no end to death. Imagine no end to disappointment. 


The false teachers of Peter’s day reached the pinnacle of their heresies. They were mocking, attacking, and denying the Second Coming of Jesus. That’s something Jesus taught with resoluteness of conviction and 

anticipation. Yet these wicked people rejected it. As we’ve already seen, who are you rejecting when you are rejecting truth taught by Jesus?


And so verse nine shows the debate between the mockers and those who speak the truth. Jesus is going to return.


Jesus is going to return. It’s a promise given throughout Scripture. All-in- all, 23 out of the 27 books in the New Testament talk about the Second Coming of Jesus. There are about 300 references to the return of Christ. Jesus will return to establish his Kingdom on earth.


Here’s Hebrews 10:19-25:

Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

God is not slow. God does everything on schedule, according to the timing of His sovereign will. God isn’t slow…God isn’t fast…God isn’t early…God isn’t late. God is on time.

Again from Hebrews, this time verses 37-39:

For,

“Yet a little while,    and the coming one will come and will not delay;but my righteous one shall live by faith,    and if he shrinks back,my soul has no pleasure in him.”

But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls.

What a beautiful promise. Jesus will return. On God’s schedule. Our 

primary job is faithfulness and obedience. Is God’s grace and mercy being 

reflected in our lives?


“But the day of the Lord will come,” says Peter. Without qualifier. No equivocation. Jesus will return.


Meanwhile, instead of doubting or questioning or mocking the promise, we joyfully wait. We have no business trying to figure out when. Leave that to the grifters and the kooks. We simply keep doing our Father’s will. We worship, we love each other, we love our neighbors, and we do what we can to make our little corner of God’s world a reflection of His grace and mercy. It’s as simple as that.


Next week, we’re going to get up-close-and-personal with what the Bible says about the Second Coming of Jesus. For now, we give thanks to God for His patience, as expressed in verse nine. God is allowing time for those lost in their sin to repent, so they, too, can be saved. As Peter says, “So that all should reach repentance.”


We’ll let these words from Charles Spurgeon lead us into next week:

What a great response to the heretics of chapter 3.


And together, to people of God said:

AMEN.



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