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The Joy [5-12-24]




May 12, 2024

2 Peter 3:11-13

“The Joy”


Last week’ message was titled, “The End.” It was about…the end. The end of this world as we know it upon the return of Jesus.


We ended the message titled, “The End,” with Hebrews 10:37-39:

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. 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.


Today, we’re going to get up-close-and-personal with what the Bible says about the Second Coming of Jesus. We begin by giving thanks to God for His patience, as expressed in verse nine, “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.” 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.”

Let’s reconnect with these words from Charles Spurgeon:

What a great response to the heretics of chapter 3.


Before we look at 2 Peter 3:10-13, one more insight from Spurgeon. Remember, 2 Peter was addressing false teachers trying to lead gullible people astray. Spurgeon’s warning is appropriate for any generation:

“Oh, if some of you were like your fathers you would not have tolerated in this age the wagon loads of trash under which the gospel has been of late buried by ministers of your own choosing.”


Some people, as Peter warns, are a danger to the church. We do well to keep our focus on the promises of 2 Peter 3:10-13:

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. 

Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.


I love, love, love the lead up to verse thirteen. Things don’t get any starker or blunter than the reminder that evil will get exposed, things will burn up, dissolving will commence, fires will break out, and melting will ensue.


In other words, the Second Coming of Jesus Christ is primarily a judgment event. Jesus will return to take his own with him. Until that day, we know God is patient. He desires that many should reach repentance.


Romans 2:4 says, “Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God's kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?” God knows when Jesus will return. Until then, He 

is giving people time for repentance.


And, as we’ll see next week in verse fifteen, “And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him.” God is patient for a reason. There is purpose. Take a snapshot of today. Think about all the people you know, some of whom you love dearly, who are far away from God. They have rejected Jesus Christ. They are living in rebellion against the free gift of his grace and mercy. Aren’t you glad that God is patient today? Remember, the Second Coming of Christ is a time of final, devastating, wholesale, worldwide judgment. It is condemnation and damnation of the highest order.


But God, as Joel 2:13 says, “Is slow to anger.” In the parable of the prodigal son, in Luke 15:20, Jesus says God is eager to show mercy. God is patient before He destroys.


Think about God’s patience. Think of the endless violations of His law He patiently endures. Adulteries…murders…assaults…fornications…lies… thefts…blasphemies against His Holy Name…defiance against His sovereign will…gossip…wanting what someone else has…not being happy with what you have…gluttony…I am spiritually wearing myself out. We’ve been down many of these roads. And God patiently puts up with us. For any of these offenses against His Holiness, God would have every right to consume our sinful selves. But, as Exodus 34:6-7 says, “The Lord passed before him and proclaimed, ‘The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty.’”


God is patient. Believers have been saved in the sovereign election of God. He predestines believers to eternal life. That’s our blessed assurance. That’s why, as we’ll see, we look joyfully for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. But we also believe that unbelievers are condemned because they have made a choice to turn away from God. They are responsible for their unrepentant hearts. And so, because God is not wishing that anyone should perish, He is patient.


When Peter affirms the coming of Christ in verse ten, we look at it with joy. You might want to write this down:

We are not afraid because we are prepared.


What kind of student were you? What kind of student are you? Keep ahead of your work? Finish assignments early? Study at the last minute? Get woefully behind on reading?  What were or are your study habits?


It pays to be prepared. Sometimes teachers would give extra time to finish or extend the due date. But sooner or later, the paper had to be turned in or the exam had to be taken. Were you prepared?


It always felt good getting that paper done early. It always felt good knowing you had mastered the material for the exam. We feel the same way about verses 11-12:

“Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly 

bodies will melt as they burn!”

When you know that your name has been written down in the Lamb’s Book of Life, you are prepared for the Day of the Lord. You are prepared. You are not afraid of its promised judgment. You neither fear nor dread cosmic destruction.


Why? Because you are prepared. You know Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. As Spurgeon once put it, dying is but going home. The promise of the new heaven and new earth and a just society is real. In fact, the verb translated as “waiting for” literally means the firm expectation of fulfillment.


And why do we feel that way? Because Jesus promised. We are as prepared as we need to be because we trust the promise and the One who promised. Amen?


Here’s as solid an affirmation of your future that you can ever hope to receive. It’s from verse thirteen. Remember, the previous three verses speak of things passing away with a roar and burning up and dissolving 

into nothingness and other such vivid calamities. And now, along comes 

verse thirteen:

“But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.”


It’s all going to be good because we are ready. Knowing God’s claim upon our lives, we learn from His Word. We worship Him in truth and love. We help our neighbors. We love each other. And so we are ready. The Day of the Lord will come. It will end the world as we know it. And we’re going to be okay. We remain filled with hope.


Here are two terrific passages to end with.


First, Isaiah 65:17-25:

“For behold, I create new heavens    and a new earth,and the former things shall not be remembered    or come into mind.But be glad and rejoice forever    in that which I create;for behold, I create Jerusalem to be a joy,    and her people to be a gladness.I will rejoice in Jerusalem    and be glad in my people;no more shall be heard in it the sound of weeping    and the cry of distress.No more shall there be in it    an infant who lives but a few days,    or an old man who does not fill out his days,for the young man shall die a hundred years old,    and the sinner a hundred years old shall be accursed.They shall build houses and inhabit them;    they shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit.They shall not build and another inhabit;    they shall not plant and another eat;for like the days of a tree shall the days of my people be,    and my chosen shall long enjoy the work of their hands.They shall not labor in vain    or bear children for calamity, for they shall be the offspring of the blessed of the Lord,    and their descendants with them.Before they call I will answer;    while they are yet speaking I will hear.The wolf and the lamb shall graze together;    the lion shall eat straw like the ox,    and dust shall be the serpent's food.They shall not hurt or destroy    in all my holy mountain,”says the Lord.

Second, still in Isaiah, 66:22-23:

“For as the new heavens and the new earth    that I makeshall remain before me, says the Lord,    so shall your offspring and your name remain.From new moon to new moon,    and from Sabbath to Sabbath,all flesh shall come to worship before me,declares the Lord.”

Are you ready for the return of Jesus Christ? While we don’t know the when, the most important thing to know is the who. Or should I say the most important person is to know is who.


And his name is Jesus. Are you prepared to meet him face-to-face? I thank God that you are.

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