SanLo Community, an update for August 25, 2019…
Thank you Pastor Scott for the message from 2 Peter 3:3-14, “Greatest Comeback Ever.”
Through our series, Why Doctrine Matters, we know the Bible to be true and God’s undeniable Word. It defines the Trinity – God the Father, the Son and Holy Spirit, are all God in different forms, but all one God; Salvation, how we need to be saved through a relationship with Jesus; the church and now, Eschatology - the part of theology concerned with death, judgment, and the final destiny of the soul and of humankind.
The “end times” are very important things we all need to know and understand. It’s going to happen so we all need to be prepared. 2,000 years ago when Jesus said He will come back, the early church leaders including Paul thought that He would come back during their lifetime. But that didn’t happen. And as time passed on, people began to doubt Jesus and false teachers began to capitalize and plant seeds of doubt in the minds of the early Christians. “Is that really what Jesus said? It sure doesn’t look true.” Sounds like these days. The world wants us to doubt God’s Words and turn away from what we know to be true. But Peter brings a solid case for Jesus’ return. As we get into the Word, we will see how what was written 2,000 years ago still rings true to this day.
2 Peter 3:3, “first of all” – this is a priority to know. Scoffers (also mockers) will try to make believers doubt what is true. While they were trying to turn people away from the truth, Peter wrote that Jesus is coming back to point people to the truth. The scoffers are blinded to the fact that God created the Earth. He didn’t need a lot of time or preexisting materials. He simply spoke the world into creation. So both today and in Peter’s time, people argued against God coming back. But God will accomplish the greatest comeback ever. It may seem unlikely, improbable and even impossible, but Jesus is about to mount the greatest comeback of all time. Jesus is coming back and He is coming back with purpose.
Jesus is coming back to bring judgment. (vv.5-7, 10) When it says the world perished, does not mean the physical earth but rather the sinful world order. And the word “deluged” – flooded, or inundated – it was a complete destructive overflow. The world was and is about 71-75% covered with water. But the Flood completely covered the entire earth. The flood wiped away almost all of mankind – except Noah’s family and some animals. And God promised to never do that again with a flood. But that doesn’t mean that there will never be global judgment. In fact it says that it will come when Jesus comes back. While the Pre-flood world was drowned by water, the present world system will be consumed by flames. Just as it was possible for the world to be covered in water, it is possible for fire to cover the Earth. The galaxies have billions of burning stars. And even the Earth’s core contains molten rock that can get as hot as 12,400 degrees Fahrenheit. Peter warns that God has “kept it until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.” (v.10) And this day will come. “The day of the Lord” is used 19 times in Old Testament and 4 times in New Testament. In the Old Testament, it’s used to describe historical judgments as well as distant eschatological judgments. It’s been called the Day of Doom, the Day of Vengeance.” The day will come because of all the sin in the world. It will come like a thief. No one knows when. Don’t listen to anyone who says they know the exact time. No one knows but God. But this judgment will not be for believers. The verse says it is for the ungodly. God will deliver His own people out of this world before His final wrath comes. Are you right with God? They say get right or get left. You don’t want to be left behind. You want to consider that at any minute, Jesus can return. Will you be ready? Have you done what you need to do to be a part of God’s family? Have you shared with others to make sure they know the Truth?
Jesus is coming back to bring salvation. He may not come as soon as people want but Peter paraphrases Psalm 90:4 when he says in verse 8, But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. God’s perspective on time is different than ours. 1,000 years to us is like a day to Him. (v.9) The Lord is not slow to fulfill His promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, [a] not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. God is coming to bring salvation and He is patient. He wants more people to come to know Him. To have a personal relationship with Him. He is patient and merciful and wants all sinners to come to repentance. The Lord is not slow to keep His promise. His timing is perfect.
A great example of this is Jesus and Lazarus. Jesus got word that his friend Lazarus was sick and as soon as He found out He…waited two more days. By the time He got to Lazarus, Lazarus was dead. But Jesus wasn’t late. Jesus wasn’t interested in healing Lazarus. He was there to raise him from the dead. People wanted a healing. Jesus wanted a resurrection. And so now people are anxiously waiting for Jesus to return. And it seems like it’s not going to happen. But He has a time in mind and is bringing salvation for all who repent. Jesus is coming back to bring judgment, salvation and also…
Jesus is coming back to bring new purpose. (vv.11-13). One day, everything will be destroyed. For those that have turned away from God, those who never took the time to know Him or rejected His free gift of salvation, the final judgment will be a horrible experience. But for believers, it will be the fulfillment of God’s promise to us. It will be the beginning of a new heaven and a new earth. Sin will be destroyed and death will be forever conquered. Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, 12 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! 13 But according to His promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. “What sort of people,” is not a question. It is a rhetorical statement meaning, “how astonishingly excellent you ought to be.” Since everything will be destroyed, we should live the lives God created us to live. The world we live in now is not our world. This is not our home. We should not act like everyone else. That’s the problem these days. You can’t tell the believers from the non-believers, the sinners from the saints, the righteous from the unrighteous. When everyone acts like each other, there doesn’t seem to be a need for change. God calls us to live holy and godly lives (v.11) Holy – the way we conduct ourselves on the outside, our behavior. It literally means to be set apart. God has given us new lives. We need to act like it. Godly – our internal heart attitudes. We were created to stand out! People should look at us and see a difference in the way we talk to people. In the way we treat people. In the habits we have. In the way we spend our money. In the way we spend our time. We are called to live lives that stand above the crowd that rises above adversity in ways that the world cannot understand. Then and only then will people who do not know Christ will want to know Christ! Because they see that having Christ in your life actually does something! It means something more than church attendance. It means living a life on this earth with a joy that others cannot understand, with a peace that the world cannot comprehend. Our new purpose leads to new hope and it means looking forward to an eternity in Paradise where there is no pain, no suffering, no tears, no anxiety, and no sorrow.
Jesus wants you to be there. That’s why He allows you the opportunity to enter with a free pass. All you have to do is accept this. But you have to do it before it’s too late. The greatest comeback in the history of mankind is going to happen. Many will doubt. Many will ignore. Many will argue against it. But it is still coming. Rather, He is coming. Are you ready?